NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – The controversy over appointments of 47 County Commissioners continues, with a section of MPs defending the right of the Office of the President to appeal the ruling.
The chairmen of two parliamentary committees dealing with national security-related matters have castigated Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa saying that it is the right of any Kenyan to appeal a ruling he is not happy with.
Adan Keynan (Wajir West) who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations and Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) who chairs the National Security Committee said the pronouncements by the two go against basic rights.
“Any attempt by any individual to put a roadblock on the issue of an appeal, which is an inherent right will be malicious, oppressive, unconstitutional, ill motivated… will be tailor-made for an individual and will not be accepted in the modern day Kenya, let the Judiciary do their work ,” said Keynan.
The Attorney General had advised the government not to appeal the ruling saying that it might not get a favourable outcome. While delivering her ruling on June 29, Justice Mumbi Ngugi said that President Kibaki did not have powers to appoint or deploy the County Commissioners.
The judge also ruled that the appointments violated the national values contained in the Constitution and the National Accord and Reconciliation Act that require the President to consult with the Prime Minister before making such appointments.
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji, whose docket falls under the Office of the President, has filed a notice of appeal against the ruling. Haji has instructed a private lawyer, Kibe Muigai and not the AG Githu Muigai to act on behalf of the government in filing the notice of appeal.
The PM said it was unfortunate that a government minister could file an appeal against the High Court ruling yet the Attorney General who is the chief government legal advisor and the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs had advised against it.
After the High Court ruling, Wamalwa had asked the president to nullify the appointments, while his predecessor; Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo termed the decision to appeal as self-defeating.
At the same time, Kapondi took issue with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga for commenting on judicial cases before they were determined.
He cited an event in Mombasa where the CJ appeared to differ with the president’s appointments saying they were not in line with the new constitutional dispensation as the matter was pending in court.
The CJ had stated then that the constitution was clear about gender representation and people with disabilities when it came to public appointments.
Kapondi stated; “What is putting this country in problem is the advocacy by the civil society. Before this case went to court already the CJ had commented on it and by commenting on it in Malindi, the outcome of the court process was prejudiced.”
Meanwhile, Keynan cautioned against politicising the ongoing national security sector reforms.
“We don’t want confusion with the functions and operations of our security apparatus. There are serious security threats all over Kenya… this is the time we are supposed to get together and motivate those gallant sons and daughters of ours who are out to protect this country. The kind of misguided statement we have been sending is not really good,” said the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations chairman.
Medical Services Assistant Minister Kambi Kazungu (Kaloleni) argued that the reconstructing of the Provincial Administration was supposed to be within five years from the date of promulgation of the Constitution.
The Wajir West MP said he would mobilise MPs to ensure an end to the impasse.
“It is up to them to decide the kind of structures (to be implemented) but it must be compatible with the constitution, but these issues that somebody brings every day just to suit politics, in my opinion is not acceptable,” Keynan said.