BBI not priority, economic empowerment is, Ruto says

BBI not priority, economic empowerment is, Ruto says

Deputy President William Ruto has said the change of the Constitution is not Kenya’s priority but the economic empowerment of its citizens.

He said leaders should stop prioritising issues for personal gain and instead address economic challenges facing the people.

Speaking at Paroo Secondary School in Sigor constituency, West Pokot County on Saturday, Ruto said there was a need to change the conversation from that of power to economic empowerment.

“The problem of Kenya today is not the Constitution but issues to do with the economy. The current top-bottom approach only benefits a few. This is why we want to embrace the bottom-up model to benefit all Kenyans,” he said.

The Deputy President’s remarks come after the state filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision by the High Court to annul the Building Bridges Initiative-sponsored Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020.

In the appeal, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki wanted an order staying execution of the May 13, 2021 ruling until the hearing and determination of his application against the decision by the five-judge bench is made.

By declaring the BBI process unconstitutional, the AG says the five high court judges halted a political process with the support of millions of Kenyans and which had been earmarked to end perennial election-related violence and marginalization.

“The ongoing constitutional amendment process by popular initiative has received the requisite constitutional approval by more than 3 million registered voters, majority of County Assemblies and both Houses of Parliament,” the AG indicated in an appeal filed on his behalf by Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.

The government’s chief legal advisor insists that the BBI process is geared towards national reconciliation which constitutes a legitimate national political process.

According to the AG, the findings made by Justices Joel Ngugi, Chacha Mwita, Jairus Ngaah, George Odunga, and Teresiah Matheka, constitute an unlawful restriction of the right of Kenyans to decide how they want to be governed.

“The effect of the Superior Court’s (High Court) findings is to unconstitutionally limit the inalienable right of Kenyans to determine their destiny,” the AG lamented in the appeal

What’s more, the AG claims that the ruling by the high court now bars the Independence Electoral Commission (IEBC) from executing its constitutional mandates.

He further faulted the High Court for declaring that President Uhuru Kenyatta had contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya by initiating and promoting a constitutional change process contrary to provisions of the constitution on amendment of the constitution.

“Unless stayed, this drastic finding will expose H.E the President to the immediate commencement of unwarranted adverse legal proceedings…. Such proceedings would serve to undermine the authority and lawful mandate of the president to the detriment of the greater general public,” he said in his protest.

  

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