AG Muigai defends amendments

June 22, 2012 1:00 pm
Speaking to reporters in his office on Friday, Muigai argued that MPs were within their powers to amend the laws/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 22 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has now defended the controversial move by Parliament to amend some crucial electoral laws through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill 2012 that was passed on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in his office on Friday, Muigai argued that MPs were within their powers to amend the laws.

“That is the nature of law. Law is controversial and that is why you have two lawyers on two different sides of the same case, each interpreting law differently,” he said.

“CIC (the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution) says there are some unconstitutional amendments; the Constitutional Oversight Committee in Parliament says there are none. Both (groups) are important, both are informed,” he pointed out.

He stated that this is an indication of democracy and should be encouraged in a bid to have an all inclusive document.

“Sometimes the language of disagreement is very violent and people deny others the good faith. They deny that other person has a good faith interpretation. They arrogate to themselves the only correct interpretation. That is very regrettable,” he stated.

He said where no consensus can be reached, the matter needs to be taken to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

“Our Constitution has created a mechanism through which we shall resolve constitutional controversies and that is the Supreme Court,” he observed.

“So if one party says this is unconstitutional and another party says this is constitutional, we should have the discipline to say, ‘let us then refer the matter to the supreme court for an authoritative interpretation’,” he said.

Elsewhere, former Attorney General Charles Njonjo welcomed the stand taken by MPs that those at the helm of the country’s leadership must not be intellectually challenged.

Njonjo said quacks should not be allowed to lead ‘smart’ Kenyans.

Speaking outside the Mombasa law courts, the former constitutional minister hailed MPs for their decision that future Presidents, Senators and MPs should have university degrees as minimum qualification.

The matter elicited sharp reaction from Civil Society Organisations with many of them calling on President Mwai Kibaki not to assent to the Statute Law, (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill that sailed through Parliament on Thursday.

The organisations argued that the Bill which seeks to amend key provisions of the Elections Act was an attempt to defraud Kenyans.

The Bill proposes that an unsuccessful presidential candidate can still make way to Parliament through nomination by political parties.

FIDA Kenya Executive Director Grace Maingi- Kimani said Parliament had no constitutional authority to bestow advantages to itself.

Transparency International Executive Director Samuel Kimeu saw the amendments as mischievous.


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