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Kenya Judges Reject President’s Appeal to Change Constitution

Kenya’s Appeal Court judges have upheld an earlier decision by a lower court blocking a government-backed plan to make fundamental changes to the country’s constitution, calling the project “unconstitutional and

Kenyan Supreme Court judges arrive for a hearing of a petition challenging the election result filed by the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition and Human Rights groups at the Supreme Court in Nairobi, Kenya August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Kenya’s Appeal Court judges have upheld an earlier decision by a lower court blocking a government-backed plan to make fundamental changes to the country’s constitution, calling the project “unconstitutional and unlawful.”
Dubbed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), and spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political nemesis-turned ally, Raila Odinga, it had sought to make these and other changes:
Introducing the position of a prime minister as a way to dilute power.
Giving Kenya’s 47 counties bigger budgets to implement development schemes.
Making the cabinet leaner and more representative of the nation.
Giving corruption scam whistleblowers 5% of any funds recovered.
Today’s judgement will be seen as a win for Deputy President William Ruto, who had opposed BBI.
It also comes exactly a year before the next presidential election, which is regarded as a two-horse race between Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto.
In a statement sent before the judges finished reading their judgement, Mr Odinga said “It is likely that today’s Court of Appeal ruling is not the end of the conversation and the parties involved will each make their own decisions on how to proceed from the decision that has been delivered today.”
“But we feel that we have to move on,” he added.
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