The high court of Kenya has revoked appointment of 47 county commissioners by president Kibaki. Further ruled that contenders for presidency,VP and governereship must be degree holders. Former Kibwezi mp Kalembe Ndile cries foul tunaendesha siasa za animal farm- all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others!
Degree ‘not a must’, rules judge
Ms Wangechi Wachira, the Executive Director of Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, at the High Court in Nairobi on June 29, 2012. She had filed a petition with Charles Omanga (left) which saw the court overturn the appointments of County Commissioners.
By PAMELA CHEPKEMEI [email protected] AND PAUL JUMA [email protected]
Posted Friday, June 29 2012 at 23:30
The High Court stamped its authority in checking the excesses of the Executive and the Legislature, in two major decisions it delivered on Friday.
The court quashed President Mwai Kibaki’s appointment of 47 county commissioners, in one ruling, and gave a lifeline to political aspirants who do not have any post-secondary education, in the other.
But overturning the President’s appointment of county commissioners will remain among the Judiciary’s boldest decisions in asserting its role in checking the Executive’s excesses.
Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi ruled that President Kibaki violated provisions of the Constitution on gender balance and the National Values and Principles of Governance.
The judge also held that the President did not have powers to make such appointments, adding that even if he did, he is still bound by the National Accord and Reconciliation Act to consult Prime Minister Raila Odinga, which he did not.
“The appointments were unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void,” the judge ruled. The President made the appointments through a Gazette Notice on May 11, but later published another, changing the word “appointed” to “deployed”. However, that did not cure the unconstitutionality, the judge said.
Respect for the Law
Activists, who had filed two petitions against the appointments, praised the court and hailed the decision as a landmark ruling.
Their lawyer, Anthony Oluoch, said: “At long last, the people of Kenya have been vindicated in their clamour for respect of the Constitution.”
“We are very glad today that the court has clamped its authority,” he added.
In the second decision, the same judge ruled that it is no longer a requirement that political aspirants who wish to vie for parliamentary seats, and county assemblies representatives must have university degrees.
She declared a provision in the Elections Act which requires MPs and County assemblies representatives to have post-secondary education unconstitutional.
“By excluding everyone who does not have post-secondary education, I find that Section 22 (2) of the Elections Act discriminates on the basis of status and social origin,” said Lady Justice Ngugi.
The section was discriminatory and contrary to Article 27 of the Constitutions which says that every person is equal before the law, the judge added.
The judge however said a requirement in the same Act on aspirants for position of the president and governors was constitutional.
The judge was ruling on three cases filed by Kangundo MP Johstone Muthama and councillors challenging the requirement that aspirants must have post-secondary education.
The judge added that very few Kenyans are able to attain post-secondary education because about 18 million Kenyans live below the poverty level.
Lady Justice Mumbi quoted a report by the National Coordinating Agency for Population which says that 46 per cent of Kenya’s Population and Development live in extreme poverty.
The judge said it was also discriminatory in terms of gender because there was a high dropout rate
According to the judge, the poor leadership experienced in Kenya cannot be solved by the requirements of high academic qualifications.
The problem, she said lies with poor governance and poor policies which bedevils the election process.
She said corrupt and unethical practices have resulted in poor governance.
“A requirement for a post-secondary education does not provide the remedy,” added Lady Justice Ngugi.
Lady Justice Ngugi declined to remove a requirement that a person who has not been a Kenyan citizen for ten years from the date of election cannot seek an elective post for presidency and MP.
Another provision upheld by the court, is on the security to be deposited in court by a person who challenges the election of a president.
She said that the requirement that a petitioner deposits Sh1 million as security costs is to discourage abuse of court process.