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CJ Koome's ruling on if Uhuru was allowed to promote BBI as President

One of the most contentious issues raised in the BBI was whether a president can initiate a referendum bill

Chief Justice Martha Koome delivering judgement at the Supreme Court

Chief Justice Martha Koome has ruled that President Uhuru Kenyatta was involved in the initiation and promotion of the Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2021 in his capacity as the head of state, not as a private citizen.

While delivering her final judgment on the fate of the BBI Bill at the Supreme Court on Thursday, CJ Koome, upheld the ruling by the Court of Appeal and High Court.

Attorney General Paul Kariuki had argued that President Kenyatta was only exercising his right as a citizen to support the referendum bill.


However, CJ Koome said that the nature of Uhuru’s engagements with the BBI and its promoters as a private citizen was hard to distinguish.

She noted that the president appointed the BBI task force and secretariat via a government notice, received the report at a State event, and issued communication regarding the initiative with state symbols and insignia.

"The president appointed the BBI taskforce, it cannot be disputed that the president was involved in the amendment of the BBI amendment bill,” CJ Koome said.

The Chief Justice ruled that State institutions and State organs such as the presidency cannot initiate constitutional amendments through a popular initiative route provided for under article 257.


She, however, commended the intention of President Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to unite the country as an act of patriotism and statesmanship.

Constitutional lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi has supported the CJ's ruling, saying that it was a signal that the BBI Bill was on its deathbed.

CJ Koome also found that public participation was inadequate during the roll-out of BBI changes, therefore, the constitutional amendment process, in that regard, wasn’t satisfactory.


Other Supreme Court Judges will also deliver their own judgments before the apex court decides whether the BBI referendum bill was constitutional.

1. Basic structure not applicable in Kenya

2. President cannot initiate a constitutional amendment through popular initiative

3. BBI's new 70 Constituencies were unconstitutional


4. Civil proceedings cannot be instituted against the President during his tenure

5. There was public participation other than on the 70 constituencies

6. IEBC was legally constituted with 3 Commissioners

7. Immature to determine the multiple referendum questions


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