Lawyer takes on MPs over vetting

October 26, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – Nairobi lawyer Ahmednassir Abdillahi has challenged Parliament’s legality to vet his nomination as one of the Law Society of Kenya representatives to the Judicial Service Commission.

Mr Abdillahi appeared before the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs and said he “doubted the competence” of the National Assembly to vet nominees who had already been elected by the society.

He argued that since he had been elected, he had the due mandate to act as one of the two representatives set aside for LSK to the judicial body and did not need further vetting.

“I have my misgivings whether this process of vetting has constitutional validity,” he told the Committee.

“We want to understand you so that when we table it in the House we are able to defend it,” said Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch.

Nominated MP George Nyamwweya added: “What you are seeking now is the stamp of legitimacy by the people of Kenya through Parliament.”

Mr Abdillahi was unconvinced to the explanations and added that the nominees elected by the society were exempted from vetting. He insisted that the committee was making the wrong interpretation of the law.

“I think you are setting a very dangerous precedence here. The submissions you are giving are completely outside the Constitution,” he said.

However Committee Chairman Ababu Namwamba said the vetting was legal and in line with the Constitution.

“We are at a stage where the constitution requires that the nominees be approved by the national assembly,” he said.

Mr Abdillahi however later submitted after Mr Namwamba insisted that the vetting was according with Parliament’s Standing Orders.

“Parliament has its regulations on how it approves nominees and this is part of the process of approving nominees. It does not matter whether the nominee is appointed, handpicked or elected. We shall proceed to do so,” he emphasised.

Later the former Law Society of Kenya Chairman got into trouble over what the MPs described as his “abrasive attitude and strong views” that he expressed against the Judiciary.

He at one point claimed that only the two LSK representatives in the JSC would be independent since the rest are representatives of the Judiciary and appointees of the President.

“How do you expect to work harmoniously with people whose independence you don’t trust?” asked Mr Nyamweya.

The other LSK nominee Florence Mwangangi agreed to the vetting without any resistance and had an easy time with the committee.

Mr Abdillahi and Ms Mwangangi were elected by LSK members through secret ballot on Monday.

Mr Abdillahi garnered 896 votes in polls for the male representative, while Mr Chacha Odera followed with 482 votes. Mr Richard Onsogo came in third with 116 votes.

Ms Mwagangi got 465 votes followed by Ms Mercy Ondeche with 410. Lucy Kambuni came in third with 254 votes.


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