, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 16 – The High Court on Tuesday dealt the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission a major blow after blocking the intended gazettement of 80 new constituencies.
The ruling by Justice Jean Gacheche came hours after a Nairobi businessman moved to court alleging irregularities.
The order will remain in force until December 2, when the matter will come up for hearing with all parties sued who include Chairman Andrew Ligale, commissioners Rozah Buyu, Irene Masit and the Attorney General expected to be present.
Businessman John Kimanthi claims that the commission lacks the legal mandate to publish the new constituencies, since their task is limited to making recommendations to the National Assembly, which in its wisdom can agree with or make amendments to the proposals.
Mr Kimanthi is also challenging the commission\’s findings claiming that three of its commissioners led by chairman Andrew Ligale acted in breach of the law since they were contestants for political office or had been actively engaged in the management of political parties.
The decision by the High Court to block the gazettement of the new constituencies elicited mixed reaction among Members of Parliament.
A section of MPs from Central Rift and North Eastern provinces have now threatened to take a Motion to Parliament to disband the commission in a bid to render its work null and void.
MPs David Nugget (Kinangop), Erastus Mureithi (Ol Kalau), Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) and David Njuguna (Lari) claimed the Ligale led commission had lost the confidence of Kenyans following the circulation of a leaked report.
"They have shown they have no integrity. They can’t do their job according to the mandate they were told, it is really not rocket science," said Mr Ngugi.
Northern Kenya MPs led by Nominated MP Mohammed Affey on their part said they felt shortchanged by the recommendations of the Commission.
"Our appeal to the President and the Office of the President where in fact the department that gazettes this matter is done, we want to plead with them not to gazette this and instead to call a meeting of all the stakeholders including the MPs and other relevant organs, in order to forestall a possible injustice being created here," said Mr Affey. Here is the full list of the 290 Constituencies.
At the same time, another group of 26 MPs supportive of the new constituencies also vowed to introduce a counter Motion in Parliament this time targeting the Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura.
The MPs from North Eastern, Western and Rift Valley claimed that Ambassador Muthaura wrote to the Government Printer directing the halting of publication of the Gazette Notice legalising the new constituencies.
Led by Alago Oluoch (Kisumu Town), Aden Duale (Dujis), Rachael Shebesh (Nominated MP) among others defended the IIBRC chairman Andrew Ligale saying Kenyans had 30 days to appeal after the gazettement of the new boundaries.
The MPs vowed to defend the new constituencies and the work of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission whose mandate ends in 10 days time.
Elsewhere, the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has backed the work of the Ligale commission.
He said that Mr Ligale and his team followed the law and should be allowed to gazette their findings.
"Ligale’s team should move on and gazette their recommendations as the law requires of them, and then we will deal in the aftermath also as the law prescribes. I am satisfied that they stuck to the mandate, we are the ones who enacted that legislation and we cannot ignore it," the Speaker said.
Meanwhile, the Constitution Oversight Implementation Committee Chairman Abdikadir Mohamed has urged for patience on the matter.
"Let’s see how things move forward so that when we are reacting to something it should be something substantive and not hear say," he said.