Kenyan AG wants Constitution case dismissed

July 20, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – The Attorney General has urged the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court to dismiss a suit filed by a group of civil society members seeking to have the referendum process stopped.

The chief government legal adviser told the court on Tuesday that the petitioners were not entitled to the pleas sought, as their suit lacks merit.

The AG argued that the court cannot stop the referendum process on allegations that he occasioned typographical and editorial errors when he published the proposed Constitution on May 6.

Through lawyer Wanjiku Mbiu, the AG told the court that the petitioners failed to identify the alleged errors and adduce evidence to the fact that he misused public funds in the campaign for the proposed Constitution.

The advocate maintained that the AG carried out his mandate within the law as provided by the law when he published the proposed Constitution.

She further explained to the court that the group led by Okiyah Okoiti Omtatah further failed to identify what they termed as partisan civic education.

"The petitioners have not proved the allegations or shown how their rights have been violated. It is too late in the day for them to seek to stop the referendum. The allegations have no evidential basis and ought to be treated as such.\’\’

She added:  “It is for this reason that we ask the court to dismiss the suit as the burden of proof has not been discharged.\’\’

Lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee representing the Committee of Experts (CoE) refuted claims that his client refused to receive the petitioners’ representations during the constitution making process.

He said the CoE widely consulted with various groups before coming up with the proposed law.

The petitioners however , through counsel Charles Kanjama urged the court to stop the referendum claiming that the AG published a strange document having made editorial alterations to the draft.

"The document published by the AG was strange as the changes in it were not approved by Parliament,\’\’ he said.

He also asked the court to order the Interim Independent Electoral Commission to make reasonable provision for the immediate registration of Kenyans in the Diaspora saying they ought to participate in the Constitution making process as they contribute to the economy of the country.

Mr Kanjama claimed that the CoE failed to comply with various provisions of the Constitutional Review Act and denied his clients the right to participate in the review process through civic education.

He further accused the government of taking a political stand by urging Kenyans to vote’ Yes’ for the proposed Constitution in order to accomplish Agenda 4 of the National Accord.



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