Justice Martha Koome faces a major litmus test in the BBI case

Justice Martha Koome Chief Justice of the republic of Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta could “succeed’ himself “Putin style” at the expiry of his term and become “Prime Minister” appointed by President Raila Odinga

By The Weekly Vision Special Correspondent

All eyes are on Lady Justice Martha Karambu Koome, Kenya’s first female chief as she leads colleagues at the Supreme Court to decide the fate of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Under the former Chief Justice David Maraga (retired) the same court made judicial history by overturning the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

If Justice Koome and colleagues at the Supreme Court decide to save BBI, there is likely to be an immediate storm in the judiciary. At least 12 high court judges have so far ruled against BBI with the Court of Appeal upholding the ruling of the lower courts that the raft of proposals was unconstitutional, null and void.

If Koome kowtows to the executive, chances are high she would face open rebellion from the judiciary and the fire-spitting Law Society of Kenya (LSK). Despite President Kenyatta insisting he would step down in August next year, many have doubted this pointing at attempts to create more positions for the Executive through the BBI. Uhuru, they say could “succeed’ himself “Putin style” at the expiry of his term and become “Prime Minister” appointed by President Odinga The BBI power-sharing deal would see members of the One Kenya Alliance share out positions with the major loser being DP Ruto.

DP William Ruto who became the beneficiary as the first DP under the 2010 new constitution claims BBI was aimed at bringing back the “imperial presidency” through the backdoor

For Justice Koome to go against the grain and convince others on the Supreme Court to save BBI would be precedent-setting just like retired chief justice David Maraga landmark ruling in 2017.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga

That was the first time an African incumbent head of State’s victory was nullified and the 3rd in the world. Twice the country’s courts have rejected the BBI as unconstitutional, ruling that the process did not emanate from a “popular initiative”.

But through Attorney General Nathan Kihara who has appealed, the government argues that both President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga are first citizens of Kenya, with families and social obligations outside their official functions.

Kihara argues that the March 9 2018 political truce between Uhuru and Raila that gave birth to BBI was a “popular initiative’ to save the country from chaos. He says the handshake had calmed political temperatures and is intended to end deeply divisive post-election violence that almost split the country down the middle.

On his part, Deputy President William Ruto “congratulated” court of appeal judges for saving Kenya from a “bad law”. Ruto said the proposed laws were geared towards reversing democratic gains enshrined in the 2010 constitution he ironically opposed at the time.

Ruto who became the beneficiary as the first DP under the 2010 new constitution claims BBI was aimed at bringing back the “imperial presidency” through the backdoor. IEBC which has just been fully constituted has already rolled out its tight schedule of deadlines towards the 2022 elections.

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