President Uhuru Kenyatta has reportedly been blocked from altering Kenya's Constitution as his second five year term nears an end. The attempt has been viewed as a power move to stagger Deputy President William Ruto's 2022 presidential plans.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been halted from enacting a complete overturn of the country's constitution. Deemed an unconstitutional move, the High Court of Kenya reportedly blocked the President this past Thursday in parliament, during a gathering where the reform plan, known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), was to be reviewed. The referendum proposes the largest government structural changes since Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010. Kenyatta reportedly bypassed the provision reserved for the inclusion of citizens in the decision to pass BBI as official law, making the process illegitimate.
The Kenyan High Court, comprised of five judges, had to step in after several opposition parties lodged challenges against Kenyatta. According to Daily Maverick, Jairus Ngaah, one of the five high court judges stated, "The President cannot be both player and umpire in the same match", after halting Kenyatta's attempts to forgo civil inclusion on the referendum for the BBI.
The Building Bridges Initiative was set into motion in 2018, following Kenyatta's controversial 2017 national election's win against opposition leader Raila Odinga. According to The Conversation, the initiative was scandalously initiated in March 2018 with Odinga as a truce. Kenyatta has proposed that the BBI aims to promote power sharing amongst all ethnicities, therefore decreasing voter fraud. However, the move appears to be a clear political ostracisation of William Ruto who plans to succeed Kenyatta at the end of his five-year term. Additionally Kenyatta's executive government has appealed the judicial ruling, proving that loyalty to the President is still tribally determined.
The BBI is set to target 13 of the 18 chapters of Kenya's Constitution, and create 70 new constituencies. Ruto's allies have publicly opposed the constitutional changes bill in parliament and outside. Kenyatta is serving his second five-year term which constitutionally should be his last presidential term. Kenya is billed to host its national elections in 2022.