The aftershocks of yesterday’s ruling which sent tremors across the entire scope of the country can still be felt this morning. In fact with more clarity, as the shockwaves from yesterday wear off, and hard reality begins to sink in.
Yesterday’s seismic judgement brings to the fore previously unthought-of realities. First among them is the finding that the president is criminally liable for the illegal Building Bridges Initiative. Before yesterday, presidential immunity was considered sacred, sacrosanct and untouchable.
However, as High Court Judge Joel Ngugi delivered the lengthy judgment yesterday, he mentioned first, that if a president’s actions transcended the scope of his executive confines, then his extrajudicial misdeeds could be tied to him personally. Later in the reading, he mentioned that the president broke the law by transcending his limits, and throwing support behind what should be a popular Initiative. An Abuse of Office charge can be sought here.
The impact of this is that, as early as today at noon, someone, or an organisation, might go to court, demanding for Uhuru’s prosecution, or demanding that Noordin Haji prosecutes the president.
The second one is the possible barrage of cases that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, is now likely to face. Since the five-member Judges bench ruled that the body isn’t properly constituted, aggrieved parties are likely to flock the corridors of the courts seeking redress. Unfortunately, most might simply just be disgruntled parties, unsatisfied with past decisions or results of the body, and just want a reversal of things. Case in point might be the losers in the recent string of by-elections across the country.
The third is the clear and obvious derailment that the entire BBI process has suffered. Regardless of whether the BBI proponents will challenge yesterday’s ruling in a court of appeal, or whether they may decide to change tact, and instead of a popular Initiative, adopt a parliamentary push, the process has definitely suffered a setback in terms of timing. It is now next to impossible that the referendum (if at all it will still happen in the first place) will happen before August.
This means that the Constitutional timeline which needed it to be done at least 13 months before the elections so that the new constituencies can be created a year before the elections as the law requires, won’t be met. It is likely to see some call for an extension of president Uhuru’s term.
The possible term extension of the president is the third biggest consequent of yesterday’s ruling.
The fourth one, of course, is the real possibility that impeachment proceedings may now be instituted against the president, or even his presidency.