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Kenya’s Supreme court begins hearing on constitutional review bill appeal

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Kenya’s Supreme Court, on Tuesday, began hearing a controversial constitutional review bill that has been at the heart of politics for decades in the East African country.

The bill is known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). This revision plans to create new positions in the executive (a Prime Minister, two Deputy Prime Ministers, and an opposition leader) and to increase the number of parliamentarians (from 290 to 360). Since its launch in 2018, the BBI has reshaped the Kenyan political landscape

The outgoing President, Uhuru Kenyatta, who initiated the project stated that this opening up of power would dilute the “winner takes all” rule
which he considers to be the cause of the post-election conflicts in Kenya.

However, critics of the bill, which was passed by parliament in May and was to be put to a referendum, took it to court.

There was the first hearing and then a court of appeal ruled that the President did not have the constitutional right to initiate such a process. The court also ruled that Kenyatta could be sued in civil court for illegally initiating the process.

The hearings in the Supreme Court are scheduled to continue until Thursday. The judges will then announce the date of their decision.

Analysts say that even if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the government and allows the law to be put to a referendum, it cannot be
held before the upcoming elections on 9 August.