Kibaki meets Speaker over nominees row

February 4, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – President Mwai Kibaki has met the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende as efforts to save the current impasse over the nominations of senior judicial officers intensified.

Mr Marende told reporters on Friday that "the meeting was on how Parliament and the Executive can work together to address matters of national interest."

"The meeting was on matters of interest to the two organs," he emphasised.

The President is reported to have later met Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Raila Odinga next week.

The meetings came a day after two rulings on the President\’s nominations, with Mr Marende referring the names to two parliamentary committees to examine whether due process was followed in the nominations, while a High Court declared the nominations unconstitutional.

President Kibaki last Friday nominated Justice Alnashir Visram as CJ, Prof Githu Muigai as Attorney General, Kioko Kilukumi DPP and William Kirwa as Controller of Budget but this was contested by Mr Odinga who said there were no exhaustive consultations.

The names have faced opposition with eight non-governmental organisations securing orders blocking appointment of the proposed individuals.

In his ruling Justice Daniel Musinga declared that the President breached the Constitution and said no State organ should process the names.

As the meetings took place, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) said parliamentary committees were within the law to discuss the nominees despite the High Court ruling that rendered the list unconstitutional.

In a one-on-one interview with Capital News, CIC Chairman Charles Nyachae said the High Court ruling affected actual appointments and not approval by the House and so the committee could scrutinise the names as ruled by Speaker Kenneth Marende.

Mr Nyachae added that the High Court didn\’t bar debate on the names but rather urged Parliament to ensure it does not endorse names that breach the Constitution and as such the committees would address the matter of constitutionality.

"The issue would come if Parliament goes ahead and processes the names and returns them approved.  Then, Justice Musinga\’s ruling would come up," he said.

He added:  "Don\’t forget (Mr) Marende has not yet made a ruling on the constitutionality of the matter and what Justice Musinga did was to bring to the attention of the Speaker the interpretation of the Constitution."

Mr Nyachae said the two rulings should give stakeholders time to consult and iron out the differing opinions on the list.

"They gave the country an opportunity for us (nation) including the principals to avoid the necessity to make a decision that would appear to polarise the country," he said.

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