Referendum: High Court stops debates on Punguza Mizigo bill
Bernice Mbugua, Bernard Gitau and Mercy Salisi @PeopleDailyke
The High Court has stopped county assemblies from debating or approving Thirdway Alliance Kenya party’s Punguza Mizigo bill.
Justice James Makau issued the temporary orders pending the hearing of a suit filed by David Ngari and International Economic Law Centre challenging the bill.
The judge further barred Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from submitting the bill to speakers of county assemblies.
“The orders will be in force for 14 days pending parties in the suit to file their responses within five days,” he ruled.
The two petitioners have named the 47 county assemblies, IEBC, Thirdway Alliance and the National Assembly and Senate speakers as respondents.
Council of Governors, Jubilee Party, Orange Democratic Movement and Elections Observation Group have been named as interested parties in the suit.
They accuse IEBC of unconstitutionally, illegally and irregular approving the Punguza Mizigo Bill.
According to the petitioners, IEBC, as currently constituted, lacks constitutional competence and technical capacity to admit, process and approve the proposed Bill together with supporting list and signatures of registered voters.
The two petitioners argue that the drafting faults in the Bill are fatal and passing it risks throwing the legal and administrative system of Kenya into unprecedented confusion and chaos.
“Unless this court intervenes by way of conservatory orders, the petitioners are apprehensive that their petition shall become otiose and rendered nugatory,” stated their lawyer James Mamboleo.
According to Ngari, and International Economic Law Centre, IEBC did not undertake public participation in respect to the verification process yet it is crucial under Article 20 of the Constitution as a national value and principle. The case will be heard on August 13.
Thirdway Alliance secretary general Fredrick Okango dismissed the ruling saying the court “does not have jurisdiction” over the matter.
“High Court does not have the jurisdiction to stop a constitutional matter and also cannot stop a constitutional body from conducting its duties,” he told the People Daily at Nairobi County Assembly.
The court did not stop the party from presenting the Bill to Speakers of County Assemblies.
Meanwhile, yesterday MCAs poked holes in the Bill questioning its capability to reduce the bloated wage bill and corruption.
While in a ‘Kamukunji’ at Nairobi County Assembly led by the party leader Ekuru Aukot, MCAs from both political divides seemed to downplay the effectiveness of the Bill in addressing the current challenges.