Kenya’s BBI blocked in blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta

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Kenya's Supreme Court judges

Supreme Court judges ruled that President Kenyatta acted unlawfully but cannot be prosecuted as an individual

In a huge blow to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s judges have once again blocked a government-backed plan to make fundamental changes to the constitution.

Supreme Court judges said the president had acted unlawfully when spearheading the reforms, known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

They said it should have been led by citizens – not a sitting head of state.

The defeat comes ahead of crucial elections in August.

Mr Kenyatta has already served two terms as president so will not stand in those polls, but had staked his legacy on the passing of this bill.

Among its key proposals was the introduction of a new post of prime minister. There had been speculation that Mr Kenyatta could seek this role should his rival-turned-ally Raila Odinga win the presidency.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling rejected the government’s appeal against previous court verdicts that found the BBI bill to be irregular, illegal and unconstitutional.

Judges in the latest ruling said the BBI proposals also broke the constitution by creating new constituencies without public participation.

The government however was allowed to appeal against five other issues which were under consideration by the court. A final judgment will be read out next week.

However, there was some good news for President Kenyatta, as the Supreme Court dismissed an earlier judgment by the lower courts which had ruled that he could be prosecuted as an individual.

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