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Court will not stop MPs from nominees task

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Kenneth Marende, has said that the two parliamentary committees will continue discussing and analysing the controversial judicial nominations despite Thursday\’s court ruling.

He maintained that the committees had the leeway to carry on with their work despite the ruling that declared the nominations illegal, since the Legislature and Judiciary function as separate entities.

Mr Marende said the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and that on Finance, have six days to scrutinise the nomination process and determine whether or not the rule of law was followed.

"My ruling covered that aspect (court\’s ruling) as well. You need to read my ruling and read it carefully and it will tell you that I made a distinction between the two areas as are covered by Parliament and the Judiciary respectively," he said.

In his ruling, Mr Marende had indicated that Parliament had jurisdiction to determine the nomination dispute which threatened to split the coalition government and derail the Constitution implementation process.

Read the full text of the ruling here.

"…in so far as a constitutional question arises before the House, within the conduct of the business of the House, it is the constitutional duty of the Speaker to interpret the Constitution to that extent and for that purpose alone so as to enable the House to proceed with its constitutional functions.  It is not fathomable and it would be a grave negation of the Constitution that the House should adjourn or otherwise suspend its business and seek the directions of another body or organ before it can proceed," read his ruling in part.

He also reminded Kenyans of their history, in view of the post election violence, saying they should never allow a repeat.

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The ruling by the High Court declared that President Kibaki\’s nominations for the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget were unconstitutional. Justice Daniel Musinga put a stop to the entire approval process until further directions from the court were given.

Mr Marende who spoke after talks a delegation of the European Union added that he had a separate meeting with the President on Friday morning where issues of national concern were discussed.

"The overview of the subject of discussion between his Excellency the President and I were matters of concern between the Executive and the Legislature; how best the two institutions can work together to address matters of national interest," he said.

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Rob Macaire, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, expressed concern at the political twists that threaten the implementation of the new laws. He urged Kenyans to put aside their ideological differences in order to achieve their national reform agenda.

"We are of course ready to continue and increase our support. But we are also worried that partisan politics risks getting in the way of that process. And time for putting crucial legislations for the implementation process is running out," he noted.

The European heads of mission also commended the House Speaker for his efforts in dealing with the judicial nominations impasse.

"We welcome the role of the Speaker in enhancing the standing of Parliament and in working for constitutional and constructive resolution of disputes," said Mr Macaire.

The Law Society of Kenya also lauded Mr Marende\’s decision.

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