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Court suspends BBI referendum

The High Court has issued a temporary conservatory order restraining the national polls body from subjecting the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 popularly known as BBI Bill to a referendum.

This pending the hearing and determination of the petition as consolidated with six others.

The five-judge bench however ruled that county assemblies and Parliament are to continue with their deliberations and passage of the Bills pursuant to Article 257 (5) of the Constitution.

“The County Assemblies and Parliament to continue with deliberations, and public engagements and participation of the BBI Bill,” the Monday ruling reads.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is to only preparations for a referendum once the BBI petitions are heard and determined.

The Thirdway Alliance Party filed a suit seeking to block county assemblies from debating the BBI Bill.

Its intention was to have the court bar IEBC from submitting the Bill to the county assemblies and Parliament for consideration and approval.

“By the time the court sits to hear the petition in March 2021 the County Assemblies, National assembly and Senate shall have debated the said bill thus rendering the Petition moot and nugatory,” the party’s lawyer Elias Mutuma said.

According to his client, the IEBC and proponents of the BBI Bill have been hastily moving towards a referendum and the petition by Thirdway Alliance party was likely to be affected.

The party further sought to have the court rule that the entire BBI process culminating in the launch of the Bill was done unconstitutionally.

“A declaration that at the time of launch of the BBI Bill 2020 and the collection of endorsement signatures, there was a legislation governing the collection, presentation, and verification signatures nor a legal framework or administrative structure to govern the conduct of a referendum in the country,” the petition reads.

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