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Building Bridges Initiative lawsuit expected to begin today in Kenya


Building Bridges Initiative lawsuit expected to begin today in Kenya

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A lawsuit targeting the controversial Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is set to begin today in Nairobi.

The BBI—a proposed constitutional amendment put forward by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his former rival Raila Odinga that would reestablish the prime minister post, establish at least 70 new constituencies and add over 300 new unelected MPs—was blocked in mid-May by the High Court of Kenya, which labeled the law an attempt to legalize graft.

Today’s lawsuit alleges that President Kenyatta, in his efforts to drive this initiative, failed the leadership and integrity act and as such contravened the Kenyan constitution. The ability to sue a sitting president stems from a High Court decision handed down late last year. The ruling states, however, that to sue the president the lawsuit must be pursued through the attorney general’s office and cannot be filed individually.

As such, expect President Kenyatta to be acquitted. The attorney general’s office has a history of supporting the president and is unlikely to heavily pursue his conviction. However, this likely acquittal has the potential to spark protests by voters of the opposition Thirdway Alliance party though demonstrations are unlikely to destabilize Kenyatta’s presidency in the near future.

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