Aukot wants court to nullify Building Bridges Initiative report

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot. Photo/PD/CHARLES MATHAI

Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot now wants the High Court to declare the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce unconstitutional and its report nullified.

The politician, whose recently Punguza Mizigo initiative failed, said constituting the BBI team amounted to misuse of public funds.

Appearing before Justice John Mativo yesterday, Aukot, through lawyer Elias Mutuma, argued that the rapprochement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, commonly referred to as the Handshake,  which led to the BBI team formation, is unconstitutional. 

“The President ought to have included all the political players in the Handshake. There were other presidential candidates in the 2017 race. Why Raila only? he asked.  

Public participation

Aukot insisted the formation of the BBI team amounted to misuse of public funds, adding that members of the taskforce ought to have been vetted publicly to represent interests of all Kenyans.

“The appointment of the members of the taskforce ought to have been done through public participation.

The constitution talks about how and the mode of selection of members to be assigned a public duty,” Aukot argues in his petition. 

 “The appointment of the members of the taskforce did not comply with Article 10 of the Constitution.

The members  stand for something in this nation, others have political inclinations. They have not explained in their response why the President settled on their names.” 

Aukot’s argued that the taskforce hearings were conducted in secrecy and in selected parts of the country, thus the recently-released BBI report should be nullified.

“The taskforce only interviewed 7,000 out of 47 million Kenyans and it’s clear it was not meaningful public participation,” said lawyer Mutuma.

The lawyer further asked the court to suspend the President’s decision to extend the taskforce’s mandate.

Responding to Aukot’s petition, the taskforce dismissed the claims as mere allegations, saying he has failed to demonstrate how the BBI team was illegally established.  

Provisions violated

Through lawyer Jackson Awele, the team said Aukot should state the provisions of the Constitution that have been violated and the manner in which it was done.

“The court must be very conscious in making decisions, which will interfere with other arms of the government saying there is separation of powers,” he said.

The President last week extended the taskforce’s mandate to spearhead the implementation of the BBI report. 

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said the task force “will steer the next phase of the process  which will largely involve expanding and guiding public participation and structuring the recommendations of Kenyans into implementable action plans”.

Meanwhile, the report, launched at the Bomas of Kenya recently, will be subjected to public participation starting next month.

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