Court extends order on Maraga advisory, LSK pushes for action
Nancy Gitonga and George Kebaso
The High Court yesterday extended an order suspending the implementation of Chief Justice David Maraga’s advice to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament up to October 21.
Justice Weldon Korir while extending the orders informed the parties in cases challenging the advisory by Maraga is yet to form a Bench of judges to hear and determine the matters.
“We are yet to hear from the Chief Justice on the appointment of the Bench to hear these cases.
The file is still in Maraga’s office. I direct that the matters be mentioned on October 21 to enable him appoint the Bench and the interim order staying the implementation of the advisory is extended to the said mentioned date,” said Korir.
The High Court has recommended the constitution of a panel of not less than three judges to hear and determine the petitions.
The orders come after several petitions from the National Assembly, Senate, Attorney General, Thirdway Alliance party, lawyer Adrian Kamotho Njenga and two citizens, Leinah Konchellah and Mohsen Munasar, among others, were filed at the constitutional court challenging the decision by CJ’s advisory.
Petitioners had prayed to the court to stop the dissolution of Parliament until their petitions are heard and determined.
Anxiety and confusion
In a joint petition, the Senate and the National Assembly want Uhuru to reject the advisory opinion dated September 21 to dissolve Parliament for contravening Article 131(2) as read together with Article 261(7) of the Constitution.
Legislators are seeking orders to quash Maraga’s advisory opinion advising the president to dissolve Parliament for failure to come up with legislation to implement the two-thirds gender rule.
They further want the High Court to declare that the Orders and findings of Justice Mativo in Constitutional Petition No 371 of 2016, Centre for Rights and Awareness and others vs Speaker of National Assembly and six others, only binds the 11th Parliament.
Through Ahmednasir, the National Assembly and Senate wants the court to declare that the CJ lacks jurisdiction under Article 261(5), (6) and (7) of the Constitution to interfere with the law-making powers of the House.
Meanwhile, there is no let up as pressure continues to pile for President Uhuru to heed last month’s advisory by Maraga.
Yesterday, lawyers, political activists and civil society organisations members vowed to occupy the National Assembly and the Senate to force the lawmakers out of office if the President does not dissolve Parliament.
The groups led by the Law Society of Kenya said the legislators were in Parliament illegally for failing to enact the Two Third Gender Bill several times since 2017.
“Teargas or no teargas, we must occupy Parliament on Monday, the October 12, if President Uhuru Kenyatta does not heed CJ Maraga’s advisory and dissolve Parliament,” the LSK, United Green Movement Party and #Weare52PC political actors asserted during a news briefing session.
Nelson Havi, the LSK President stated that it was wrong for MPs to continue discharging their duties after Monday next week because an earlier notice issued for Parliament to be dissolved could have elapsed.