BBI Appeal: Climax Moments That Lit Up Court

  • The hearing of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) case came to an end on Friday, July 2, after three days of hearing where some of Kenya’s best advocates argued their cases.

    The BBI appeal case was listened to by Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga and judges Patrick Kiage, Roselyn Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu, Gatembu Kairu, Fatuma Sichale and Francis Tuiyott.

    Intrigues have defined the Court of Appeal process with both camps emphatically making their submissions in pursuit of victory.

    Below are some of the highlights from the three-day hearing;

    1.) James Orengo (Pro-BBI team)

    The renowned senior counsel took to the stand on Wednesday, June 30, where he told the court that the five-bench High court judges that declared the BBI constitution as null and void, were wrong even before they made a ruling.

    Orengo argued that the judges had imagined Kenyans were currently not being guided by the constitution.

    The advocate accused them of misinterpreting  basic structure and sovereignty of the people. 

    Senior Counsel James Orengo in court

    2.) Martha Karua (Anti-BBI team)

    On  Thursday, July 2, the Nark-Kenya leader argued that the respondents had not been given ample time to argue out their case.

    Karua stated that they had gone to the Court of Appeal as respondents and not amici (regarded as a friend of the court, one who assists the court by providing information or advice in matters of law and fact.)

    The former Justice Minister blamed those who had dragged them in court for questioning their presence in court and making accusations against them.  

    “We are sitting here expecting to get our time and a lot of allegations have been made against amici. We have put in all our effort as respondents,” she stated.

    Senior Counsel Martha Karua in court

    3.) Otiende Omollo (Pro-BBI team)

    In his submission, advocate Otiende Omollo argued that the 5-judge High Court bench that nullified the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), were confused.

    Omollo stated that the president was not the promoter of the BBI bill, rather it was BBI Secretariat Co-Chairs Junet Mohamed (right) and Dennis Waweru.

    “The one thing the court does not do in their 300-page judgement is it fails to ask who are the promoters. BBI is an initiative promoted by Waweru and Junet authorized by IEBC to collect signatures,” he argued.

    Senior Counsel Otiende Amollo in court

    4.) John Khaminwa (Anti-BBI team)

    On the last day of the hearing, renowned advocate John Khaminwa accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of unconstitutionally attempting to amend the Constitution. 

    Khaminwa urged the court to turn its face against the head of state. He stated that the president had on a number of occasions disrespected the courts.

    “When you come to the court you must come with clean hands, the president has not come to this court with clean hands at all,” Khaminwa argued. 

    He also stated that the current politicians were selfish individuals who were looking for a political office.

    Veteran Senior Counsel John Khaminwa in court

    5.) Nelson Havi (Anti-BBI team)

    Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi challenged an argument that the president initiated Constitutional reforms as a private citizen, and not as a State officer.

    Havi argued that the president was not a mere mortal, but a superior.

    “He cannot make a direct appeal to the people and join them in petitioning Parliament,†Havi told the court.

    The BBI appeal also brought to light some young Kenyan legal minds such as Christian Andole, Esther Ang’awa, and Elias Mutuma.

    Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga stated that the court would issue a judgement on August 20, 2021.

    LSK President Nelson Havi in court