The much-anticipated ruling at the court of appeal, where seven judges carrying the weight and burden of the BBI constitutional amendment bill outcome; probably torn between doing the right thing or being seen as sell outs by Kenyans, whose sovereignty of the constitution and independence of the judiciary depended.
So heavy was the burden, that it took 13 hours to deliver the judgement that the entire world had been waiting for, at home and abroad.
This is a journey that began with a handshake by the two proponents outside harambee house on the 18th of March 2018, a few months into the disputed re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta who was running for a second 5-year term. Supreme courts historical ruling by annulling the entire exercise and ordering a repeat and fresh elections send the country in a panic mode and in a state of anxiety.
The NASA Coalition, who contested the election in the supreme court, pulled out of the repeat elections claiming lack of confidence in the process. They then ordering their supporters to abscond and stop anyone especially from their regions from participating in the repeat elections and held weekly protests and boycotts that were aimed at paralyzing the country economically.
To avoid any further escalation of tension, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rt. Honorable Raila Odinga, hatched secret talks that culminated into the famous handshake. Only the president and former Prime Minister were privy to the details of the handshake deal. The handshake effectively sidelined Deputy President Dr. William Ruto from the government he helped form, that led to countless instances of public ridicule and humiliation by the two leaders and their cronies.
The same handshake, saw the president abandon his legacy projects famously referred to as the agenda 4, for the birth of BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE. BBI was received with mixed reactions by many Kenyans, with some claiming that it was unconstitutional, illegal, and with selfish interests. Others claimed it had a few good proposals, done the wrong way by the wrong people. There were murmurs and discontentment from Kenyans of all walks of life. These, however, did not deter the proponents from continuing with the push.
A fierce court battle ensued, with some of the country’s top notch legal minds representing both sides of the isle, the high court ruled that the BBI process was null and void. President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, through their battery of lawyers filed a petition to appeal the High Court’s decision in the court of appeal, which further rendered the BBI proponents a humiliating second rejection.
The ODM leader and the proponent of the BBI has indicated his willingness to move in and focus on 2022. Deputy president Dr. William Ruto hailed the Court of Appeals decision as historic and said that it was time Kenyans focused on the economy now that BBI has collapsed. On his part, Amani coalition leader, Musalia Mudavadi said that BBI failure was due to its leaders’ intolerant approach to divergent views.
Other leaders like the Kirinyaga governor, Ann Waiguru and her MT. Kenya caucus team, who were drumming support for the BBI and Raila Odinga, have made a U-turn and now speaking different languages of betrayal.
With the next General Elections barely a year to away, there’s no much time to mourn the death of BBI. There will be quick realignments and moving back to the drawing board, perhaps for plans B and C will become a top priority.
Meanwhile, for the outgoing president, it’s back to the much-hyped legacy stunts, perhaps divert the funds set aside for BBI back to the agenda 4 projects, complete the stalled projects and stand not only to be counted, but remembered for generations to come as the 4th President of the Republic of Kenya.
For the Deputy President Dr. William Ruto, it’s presumably a sigh of relief as the monster was partially meant to thwart his ascension to county’s top seat come 2022.Therefore, everyone is back to the starting lane, no head starts.
For Wanjiku, Atieno, Moraa, Cherono, Amina and the rest of the Kenyans, it’s a jubilation, as we have our country back!
Congratulations to the judiciary teams for not only restoring the public faith in the institution but also for choosing patriotism over individuals, to take a road less travelled, to protect the sovereignty of Kenya, uphold the rule of law and respect the constitution. As lawyer Dr. Khaminwa said, the determination Will be remembered and used as a reference for decades to come!
Annie Thuku is an activist based in Nairobi.