, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Those newly nominated to the Cabinet are free to take their oaths of office after the High Court on Thursday declined to issue an injunctive order stopping their swearing-in.
Justice Joseph Onguto said he could not grant the orders sought by the Centre for Rights Awareness and Education without first granting the Executive and National Assembly, who are named as respondents, a hearing.
The Centre for Rights and Awareness wanted the nominees stopped from taking up office as the Cabinet will be constituted in violation of the Constitution.
The non-profit organisation has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of violating the Constitution by failing to ensure that at least seven members of his Cabinet are women as per Article 27 (8) of the Constitution which stipulates that no more than two-thirds of the members of elective and public appointive bodies are of the same gender.
Once the nominees are sworn-in, only five out of 20 Cabinet Secretaries will be women.
The suit was however certified as urgent and an inter-parties hearing scheduled for December 23.
The nomination of Charles Keter (Energy), Dan Kazungu (Mining), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution and Planning), Cleopa Mailu (Health), Willy Bett (Agriculture), Joseph Mucheru (ICT) and Sicily Kariuki (Public Service) as Cabinet Secretaries by President Kenyatta was approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday.
An endorsement faulted by the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on Thursday for being unconstitutional.
When the nominations were made, the National Gender and Equality Commission, the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy and Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua also objected to the Executive’s failure to ensure the two-thirds gender rule was adhered to.
A concern raised on the floor of the House by less than a handful of legislators – four – on Wednesday during debate on the nominations.
MPs Millie Odhiambo (Suba), Opyio Wandayi (Ugunja) and Ken Okoth (Kibra) cited lack of gender and ethnic balance as grounds for rejection.