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Tuju’s warning to High court Judges over their ruling on BBI Bill raises concern

Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju has warned the 5-judge bench that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill as null and void. 

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, a 5-judge bench; Justices Teresia Matheka, Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, and Chacha Mwita ruled that the BBI initiative was unconstitutional and that President Uhuru Kenyatta had failed to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution by initiating a referendum. 

Speaking during an interview on NTV on Monday, May 17, 2021, the Jubilee party Secretary General reminded the High court judges that they depend on the same government they were reportedly fighting and frustrating.

The Cabinet Secretary without portfolio also accused the Judges of disrespecting President Uhuru Kenyatta by referring to him as “Mr”, and also limiting his powers in his role as a symbol of national unity. 

“Judges should learn the word ‘interdependence’ because as soon as they finish a ruling, they need policemen to escort them home as guards or drivers. The world is much more complicated. 

“We are a little more humble than the judges who say this is what is, period! If you don’t like it, period!” Tuju stated. 

His statement over the judges however, was interpreted that the government could withdraw the justices’ security.

Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi led a number of lawyers and Kenyans in raising concerns over Tuju’s remarks. 

“Raphael Tuju, hear and get me loud and clear. Your behaviour seems to know no limit. Judges volunteer to serve in an Arm of Government. Their security is not a privilege but a right. This is not the Uganda of the 1970s. Cross that line again and you will live to regret it,” Havi warned. 

“Security to the judges is not a favour from the Executive but a right. The police service is not the property of the state but of all Kenya citizens. They must serve everybody without discrimination,” one J Kiprotich added. 

Tuju in his interview further cautioned politicians against celebrating the BBI ruling, arguing that the initiative was aligned towards fostering peace and unity. 

“People who are celebrating the High Court ruling that nullified the BBI are like dancing on the graves of those who died during political violence in Kenya. This kind of ruling (BBI) tests our institutions. If it was in some of the failed African states, military vehicles would be spotted on Nairobi roads. 

Deputy President William Ruto was among the notable politicians who were excited by the ruling against BBI. The DP stated that Kenya’s democracy is anchored on the rule of law, constitutionalism, separation of power and respect for independent institutions. 

“All patriotic citizens must defend these tenets just like the Judiciary did. Now let’s focus on covid vaccination, economic recovery, the Big 4 Agenda and unity. There is God in heaven who loves Kenya immeasurably. May God’s name be praised forever,” Ruto stated. 

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    Written by Kennedy Omondi

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