Kenya’s Supreme Court has ruled that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s proposed amendment to the law is invalid, suspending an opinion that critics say was designed to investigate his deputy, who has publicly opposed him.
Parliament has already introduced changes known as the Building Bridges Initiative – marking a major overhaul of East African governments since the new legislation was enacted in 2010.
However, in issuing a verdict on a number of issues raised by various parties, a five-judge panel of the court said on Thursday that Kenyatta had used civil law to enforce the changes, making it illegal.
“The law to reform the country’s constitution is the president’s idea and the law makes it clear that the president does not have the law to enforce legislative reform through a popular method,” the court said.
As a result, “cases may be instituted against the president for violating the law, by initiating a change,” the judges added.
“The president cannot be a player and a judge in the same game,” said Jairus Ngaah, one of the judges.
The government, which seeks to hold a referendum on Kenyatta’s signature into law, will issue a ruling.
Kenyatta says the law promotes the sharing of power between rival tribes to reduce electoral violence and does not look down on anyone.
It will establish 70 new constituencies, restore cabinet positions to elected members of parliament, and perform a number of powerful positions: prime minister, two ministers and a parliamentary opposition leader.
Kenyatta initiated the reforms with the help of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, after the two made peace in January 2018 following a run-off election last year in which President President Odinga was ousted.
The reunification has divided Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto, who is seeking to replace his boss after retiring next year after serving the two in accordance with the law.
The constitutional amendments were designed to reduce the political ambitions of the Ruto’s Kalenjin race, by creating an alliance against him, says John Githongo, a pro-democracy activist.
“It’s clear that some of these ways put him on his side,” he said.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
“I don’t think we have a problem in Kenya … The biggest problem in Kenya is the financial crisis,” Ndoro, a member of Ruto’s parliament, told Citizen TV.
The next presidential election will be held in 2022 and Kenyatta, after two terms, should not run again.
Ruto said a change in the law would set up a system that would allow Kenyatta and Odinga, the country’s largest ethnic group, to share power.