HON. RAILA ODINGA’S STATEMENT ON HIGH COURT RULING ON THE BBI:
The Judiciary sits at the centre of the democratic experiment in both established and emerging democracies. It is a key pillar of our democracy. In fact, no country can be a democracy without a
strong and independent Judiciary. It is the judiciary, among the three arms of government, which is the final arbiter of our constitution. That is why every citizen and institution within the state must respect
the rulings of the judiciary, even when they are adverse to their interests. It is in this context that I want
to address myself to Thursday’s ruling of the High Court on the Building Bridges Initiative and the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020.
Supporters of the Constitution Amendment Bill, including myself, have been disappointed by the High Court ruling.
However, I urge restraint in the public commentary about the ruling. In particular, I want to urge that we restrain from personalized attacks on the court and its members. We may disagree with the court but we must respect its ruling and its freedom to exercise its judgment as it understands the legal and constitutional matters before it.
Our constitution provides the right of appeal of a decision with which one feels aggrieved. That is
precisely what we intend to do with the ruling of the five-judge bench on the BBI Bill. We will calmly and respectfully move to the Court of Appeal to present our case as to why we think the High Court did not render the right verdict. We will do so with sobriety and with respect for our judges and courts.
Ultimately, our objective is to strengthen, not undermine, the judiciary.
I ask my fellow Kenyans to remember the hard and arduous journey that we have travelled over the decades in search of democracy. The 2010 Constitution itself is a monument to that struggle. There were moments of great danger and peril along that journey. We have learnt that democracy is about peaceful and respectful contestation, whether we agree or disagree with each other.
This struggle continues. Our destination is a place where the potential of each and every one of us – no matter our gender, ethnicity, race, religion, region, identity, origin, or social status – is a full member of our society.
That is what BBI is about. BBI is a project of opportunity, equity, and equality for all.
We seek to build a country of strong institutions and where citizenship means the ability and opportunity
to realize one’s full humanity. That is our quest as we seek a second opinion on BBI from the Court of
Appeal. Let us treat each other with dignity as we do so. After all, Kenya belongs to us all.
Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga,
ORANGE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
15th May, 2021