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Kenya Supreme Court Rejects President’s Bid to Change Constitution 


Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at the United Nations Environment Program 50th anniversary celebrations in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya, March 3, 2022.

In a ruling Thursday, Kenya’s Supreme Court blocked changes to the constitution initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Six of the seven judges ruled constitutional amendments must come from ordinary citizens, not the president.

Following the hotly-contested 2017 election that almost split the country apart, Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga unveiled a plan they called the Building Bridges Initiative.

The initiative would introduce the permanent office of prime minister and create 70 new constituencies.

The two leaders argued the best way to avoid election-related violence that has plagued Kenya is to create more political positions.

But the Supreme Court shot down changes in its ruling Thursday. Chief Justice Martha Koome read the verdict of the judges.

“The president cannot initiate constitutional amendment and changes through the popular initiative under Article 257 of the constitution, Njoki Ndungu Supreme Court Judge dissenting," Koome said. "Issue 2 the president initiated the amendment process initially, Njoki Ndungu and Lenaola Supreme Court Judges dissenting.”

The Supreme Court agreed with the previous ruling of the two lower courts, the high court and the court of appeal, declaring the initiative unconstitutional.

Odinga served as prime minister under a power sharing agreement that followed Kenya’s disputed 2007 elections. However, the position was abolished after the 2012 polls.

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