ECK scoffs at planned dissolution

December 5, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – The Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) has slammed the government over its latest move to create an independent body, despite a High Court order barring the action.

In a statement signed by Vice Chairman Kihara Muttu and Commissioner Alfred Ndambiri ECK argues that the intended dissolution would be unconstitutional.

“As long as this case is pending and the orders are in force, ECK Commissioners and staff believe that the principles of the rule of law must be observed and strictly adhered to,” the statement said of the case awaiting direction by the Chief Justice.

“It is very important that no arm of government acts in disregard to these principles.”

The Cabinet has already authorised the establishment of an Interim Independent Electoral Commission setting the stage for the exit of the ECK. A new law to legalise this is expected in Parliament soon.

Legislators were angered by the interim orders sending the Judiciary and Parliament on a war path. Speaker Kenneth Marende however ruled that the courts have no jurisdiction over discussion in the house. Chief Justice Evan Gicheru has on the other hand insisted that the ruling is binding.

The case will be mentioned in December 11 and the ECK insists that the government should await the ruling of the case.

“It is important that all three separate bodies of government – Executive, Judiciary and Legislature – being aware of their various separate powers, duties, rights and obligations ensure that in exercise of those powers and duties, they don’t violate or abuse the constitutional rights of their subjects, whether those rights are institutional or individual,” they said.

Media reports on Wednesday indicated that the government was preparing a send off package but the ECK disassociated itself from such a deal.

“The ECK is not aware of any send-off package and has not been consulted by any arm of government over such plans,” their statement said.


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