A war of words has erupted involving the Thirdway Alliance Party, their lawyers and Mr Paul Mwangi, who is representing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Steering Committee over the case filed by the party in which it has sought orders to stop county assemblies from debating the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
In light of last week’s endorsement of the Bill by a majority of the assemblies, the party resolved to withdraw the case on account that their prayers had been overtaken by events.
However, their lawyers seem to be acting on different instructions. The lawyers are resisting their client’s directive in a move that has raised questions within the party, triggering suspicion that some powerful forces could be behind the scheme.
Correspondences among the lawyers representing all the parties in the consolidated cases against the BBI, detail a bitter behind-the-scenes war among lawyers representing different parties in the seven consolidated suits filed to stop the implementation of BBI reforms.
What has sent alarm bells ringing is the decision by Elias Mutuma, who is the party’s lawyer on record, to reject instructions from his client to withdraw the case even after he had initially promised to act.
“We have reached the conclusion that there is a super petitioner against BBI whose instructions are pre-eminent to those of the stated petitioners and in conspiracy with whom you are now involved in perverting the course of justice,” Mr Mwangi wrote to Thirdway Alliance lawyers in one of the emails, the Sunday Nation has seen.
“As your client’s position is clearly stated publicly, and the documents including those executed by you are self-explanatory, it then means that you have yesterday denounced your clients’ instructions and are treating the same as not binding to you,” Mr Mwangi added.
The party had in January filed an application in the High Court seeking orders to stop IEBC from submitting the Bill for debate in the county assemblies.
On February 15, the party’s Management Committee in consultation with its members in a virtual meeting resolved to withdraw the petition on the account that the case is no longer sustainable.
Instructions were issued on the same day to the Mutuma Gichuru Associates Advocates, who are acting for the party, which confirmed receipt of the instructions on the withdrawal and promised to act accordingly.
Another application for advisory opinion was filed by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana who wants the Supreme Court to state whether a bill for the amendment of the constitution should be limited to a single issue of the constitution, and whether national or county government officials can be promoters of a popular initiative.
Prof Kibwana has since thrown his weight behind the BBI and it remains to be seen if he will pursue his application.