First task for Kenya Constitution Court

January 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The newly constituted Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court (IICDRC) got its first task on Monday after the High Court referred a case in which a non-governmental organisation wants the Revised Draft Constitution nullified.

Justice Jean Gacheche referred the case filed by Mega Welfare Initiative Society and political activist Wanguhu Nganga to the court for urgent attention. She directed lawyer Chris Omollo representing the petitioners to take hearing dates on a priority basis at the High Court registry.

President Mwai Kibaki last Friday witnessed the swearing in of six of the nine IICDRC judges whose key mandate is to handle cases relating to the Constitution filed in the High Court.

The six were justices Samuel N Mukunya, Violet Khadi Mavisi, Scholastica Omondi, Jamila Mohammed, Justice Sankale ole Kantai and Justice Mburugu Kioga.

Others were Justices Micheal Bastarache of Canada, Lady Justice Unity Dow of Bostwana and Justice Alistair Cameron.

During the ceremony, the President urged the judges to expeditiously deal with any disputes that may be brought to enable Kenyans get a new Constitution. The NGO is complaining that the Committee of Experts (CoE), the Attorney -General and the Minister for Justice are in the process of handing over to Kenyans a document meant to defeat the due course of justice.

They contend that the respondents flouted Section 30 by failing to publish contentious issues and proceed to publish the harmonised draft Constitution. The move, they allege, violated the due process, rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed under the present Constitution.

They say that the Christian fraternity made presentations raising several issues concerning the CoE, marriage life, sovereignty, identity, devolution, Judiciary and land which concerns were ignored or disregarded.

They argue that the Minister for Justice “is duty bound to compile the views of Kenyans and it is dangerous to try to impose elites’ views which were never conveyed.\’\’

They say that the Constitution is a critical document that reflects the hopes and aspirations of Kenyans and should not be left to a few elites to the exclusion of majority of Kenyans.

“Some citizens do not belong to any political party so it is in the best interest that all views by Kenyans are taken into account and captured in the final draft,\’\’ they state.

Through Omollo & Co. Advocates, the plaintiffs say that their application is made in good faith and in the interest of justice and stand to suffer great loss if the orders they are seeking are not granted by the High Court.


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