Justice Weldon Korir has disqualified himself from a case seeking to declare the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) unconstitutional.
Korir placed the file before Judge John Mativo, who will mention the case on January 28, 2020, at Milimani High Court.
Activist Okiya Omtatah filed the petition on January 13, 2020, stating BBI activities were “undertaken illegally by an illegal entity”.
Muhuri and Katiba Institute (KI) are interested parties.
This suit is challenging the legality of a 14-member committee President Uhuru Kenyatta tasked with steering the implementation of the BBI report. Uhuru recently extended the team’s mandate.
The case also questions State’s push for a referendum, which, according to the petitioner, should only be initiated by a voter – supported by at least one million signatures.
On Monday, Omtatah, Muhuri, and KI requested the empanelment of an uneven number of judges to hear the case. However, Korir declined.
Korir said he had made a similar decision before, “and I’m unlikely to change my mind”.
The judge said he was willing to recuse – a decision Omtatah, Muhuri, and KI agreed to.
Last October, Korir also disqualified himself form another suit that, similarly, challenges BBI legality. Researcher Moraa Gesicho had applied to Korir for court orders to stop the BBI taskforce from submitting its report to President Kenyatta after she filed a suit to declare the team unconstitutional.
But Korir did not stop the BBI team from submitting its report to Uhuru.
When the matter came up for hearing, Gesicho asked Korir to exclude himself, saying he was biased.
“For the interest of justice to all parties in the case, I hereby disqualify myself from the case and direct the file to be placed before the principal judge for further directions on October 23,” Judge Korir ruled then.
In December, Muhuri, KI, and International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) filed an access to information request with the secretary to the cabinet, Joseph Kinyua, seeking information on BBI legality and cost. Kinyua has never responded.