Court: Uhuru, Ruto State House bids off limits

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High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – The High Court has barred members of the public and authorities from discussing whether Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North Member of Parliament William Ruto are eligible to vie for the presidency.

Justice Isaac Lenaola issued the directive during the mention of a case in which three voters and two civil society organisations want to bar the duo from contesting the presidency following their indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

Lawyer Kibe Mungai who represents the Kenya African National Union (KANU) asked the court to stop any ongoing discussions on the pair’s eligibility to run for the highest office in the land until the matter is heard and determined.

“In view of the fact that this court is now seized of the matter on whether Uhuru and Ruto are qualified or not to run for the upcoming presidential election, the issue is now sub-judice and all persons and authorities are enjoined not to discuss the matter in public failure to which appropriate sanctions will be taken,” warned the judge.

Since Kenyatta and Ruto who have now been enjoined in the matter were not legally represented in Thursday’s proceedings, the judge said they were at liberty to review the orders on February 17 when the case will be mentioned again for further directions.

The Attorney General, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) and KANU together with four other political parties have indicated that they will oppose the suit.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) through lawyer Wambua Kilonzo said it would remain neutral in the matter but will be questioning the court’s jurisdiction to handle contested issues.

According to Kilonzo, the case is more political in nature than a legal matter. Parties were given 14 days to respond to the petition.

The petitioners claim Kenyatta and Ruto were rendered ineligible for public office after the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed charges against them on January 23.

Read a related story here.

Kenya Youth League and Kenya Youth Parliament’s Patrick Njuguna, Augustino Netto and Charles Omanga argue that charges against the two are serious under Kenyan and international Laws.

Through lawyer Anthony Oluoch they are seeking a declaration that the leaders’ candidature would be a recipe for chaos and can perpetuate the culture of impunity.

They also want an order issued restraining the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission from accepting the nomination of anyone committed to trial for serious criminal charges.

  • Len

    That’s dictatorship…. how can a court stop the public from discussing any issue?  Sub-judice is not meant for that… it only means other parties can’t take action on the issue until it’s resolved. 

  • Anonymous

    Ok – I am not a lawyer but please tell me that this is not true?? We as Kenyan people have a right to discuss this matter. This does not mean that we make the decision or did I miss something? Can someone please expalin how the High court can stop the very people who pay and vote for these people can be barred from discussing this issue.  THis is also not to say that we are for or against whether they stand or not but we shoudl have a right to discuss.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the same but see @0cf3b19ce0970c6e24b988c8a1fd5619:disqus ‘s comment and it all makes sense!

  • somebody

    And we are supposed to vote for these two?what a shame when they cant stand a lil criticism.

  • Sk

    let the truth be told, Uhuru and Ruto cannot vie for kenyan presidency maybe the hague prison leader or president.
    Mutula has read the law as required. HEKO mutula

  • http://twitter.com/MwaisakaWangai Mwaisaka Wangai

    I hope this applies to the two ICC suspects, because this effectively means that they should desist from their campaigning.

  • Wakili

    Courts at times say things in convoluted ways.  So let me explain what they are saying.  This ruling is directed at Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.  The Court is saying a Justice Minister is not a court of law and has no business making pronouncements that sound like judicial rulings in the media.  It is for the court to decide an issue pending before it and not for Kilonzo to show his wit by analyzing the same issue and then stating a conclusion as if he has precendent-making powers.  A precendent is a ruling that has to be followed.  So, in short, Kilonzo is not a judge, he is not a court, he cannot decide issues pending before a Constitutional court or appear to be usurping the interpretative powers of a Constitutional court.  In fact why do we need a Justice Minister when we have Courts and the AG and DPP.  It is an irrelant ministry and the occupiers of that office can make mischief by poking his nose into the affairs of the Judicial branch of government while he, Kilonzo, is a member of the Executive/legislative branches.  A clear conflict of the separation of powers.  Now, take that to the bank.

  • Joram Ragem

    Justice Lenola is the face of injustice. We have hired him to render judgement in our cases. On the Election Date case, he was indecisive. He said elections could be held in either in December or in March. Now folks are asking him whether Ruto & Uhuru can run for presidency. Instead of rendering a decision one way or another, he is telling us either to shut up, or get arrested, and denying us freedom of expression. Now since he is delaying justice, and could not quite decide on the election date, shouldn’t we tell him we will pay him either end of this month, or in March or next year after he renders judgement? 

  • Nancy

    wait a second … Joram.  The judge will decide his case on February 17th.  Meantime Kilonzo has been talking to the media stating what he thinks the constitututional court will or should decide.  Nothing annoys judges more than some outsider trying to take over their docket.  Message:  Keep off our docket Mr. Kilonzo.  Your are not a high court judge.  Need I say I agree with Wakili 100%

  • Ukweli

    The ICC is not a Kenyan court and Kenyan judges are natuarally feeling the need to say hold your horses boys and girls, we will make our own rulings…

    Some Ministers like toshow others how smart they are.  Judges are not taking this kindly.  If you are not a judge sitting on the Constitutional court, do not pretend to be a judge!

    Utterances by members of the Executive branch that are not supported by the entire Executive branch serve no purpose other than confuse the public.  Message:  Watch what you say Mr. Justice Minister!

  • Dixon

    Thank you so very much Justice Lenaola.  Those claiming they respect the Constitution should have no problem accepting the fact the Executive branch does not have judicial functions.  So Kilonzo should keep away from your cases.  Like the good Chief Justice Warren used to tell the White House: I do not tell you how to do your job so do not tell me how to do mine!  Those arguing freedom of speech miss the bigger picture.

  • Anonymous

    We must remember that mutula was provoked to say this. The three and half men should not talk about the whole issue in the first place so that nobody will go mutula  as a minister concerned with constitution to clarify. Do we expect mutula to say that this people are heroes and so they are free to be the president of the people whom they have murderd and raped and rendered homeless.

  • Davis

    provoked by who?  So he has no self-restraint to say “I cannot comment on a matter pending before the court”.  Not his job to interpret the Constitution.  In most advanced legal systems judicial officers can be sanctioned for making comments about pending cases– just shows how weak the Kenyan ethical system is.

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