Pro-BBI youth lobby calls for thorough scrutiny of judges

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 00:00 |
The five-judge Bench that declared the BBI bill unconstitutional. Photo/PD/File

A youth lobby group comprising youth drawn from all the 47 counties are now calling for a thorough scrutiny of individuals to be appointed judges.

The lobby while faulting last week’s court judgment on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), also wants judges to be closely monitored to avoid a situation where they could end up muzzling the two other arms of government.

In what appears to be a drastic proposal, the youth suggested that judges should be elected by Kenyans, and formally appointed by the President.

Oscillating under the umbrella of Youths United for Kenya (YUK), the lobby criticised last Thursday judgment on the Constitution Amendment Bill claiming that it seeks to water down some of the gains that young people would get if the bill sailed through.

YUK draws its membership from the Jubilee Youth League, Kenya University Students Organisation and other several lobby groups.

Drawn from all the 47 counties the youth accused the five judges who participated in the judgment for not considering the interests of young people who have remained marginalised for a long time despite making up the largest percentage of the population.

“Our bench has ridiculously very old judges who are so aloof to the interests of the youths and therefore do not understand or subscribe to the ideology of the modern youth,” said the convener of the group Alex Marete.

Marete added : “ By trashing the presidential constitutional responsibility of promoting and enhancing national unity through the Handshake, the judiciary is inviting anarchy and a violent revolution in Kenya”.

The youths warned that the Judiciary should be checked to control it from ending up micromanaging the affairs of the National Executive and Parliament through legal jargons and orders.

The lobby opined that should the Court of Appeal uphold the judgment, they would propose an amendment through which all High Court judges would go through a rigorous process before being appointed .

The same amendment, they stated, would also ensure that the judges do not hide under the Constitution or other laws during their tenure in office.

“We shall be proposing an amendment to the Constitution where judges will go through a rigorous public vetting process before being appointed,” Matere noted.

They also vowed to push until the Judiciary budget has been slashed and reallocated to finance the Youth Fund, Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) , Uwezo Fund and monthly food rations for the youth.

The lobby also vowed to push for the resignation and prosecution of a section of judges allegedly being financed by some dirty foreign networks.

“As young Kenyans, especially those who submitted views before the BBI, we are utterly dismayed and will not sit by as the judges and their ilk rob us of our today and devour our future with a big spoon without shutting their mouths,” Matere said.

The BBI report has proposed a seven-year tax holiday for youth-owned businesses while graduates would be allowed a four-year grace period before starting to repay loans offered by HELB.

The High Court ruling by a five-judge bench comprising Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka, and Chacha Mwita among other declarations, noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta had violated the Constitution when he initiated the BBI process which it said could only be done by Parliament or the citizens through a popular initiative.

In their ruling, the judges also ruled that anyone can institute a civil application against the president for violating the Constitution by initiating the process of amending the Constitution outside his mandate.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta violated Article 131 (2) (c) of The Constitution of Kenya. He has failed to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution.

He has failed the leadership and integrity test under Article 73 (1) (a). The entire BBI Bill is an invalid and void exercise,” the court ruled.

More on News