NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) is accusing President Mwai Kibaki of breaking the law by failing to appoint the National Land Commission as ordered by the High Court.
CIC chairman Charles Nyachae says that the failure by President Kibaki to complete the appointments erodes confidence in the Judiciary and raises suspicion of ulterior and political intentions over the sensitive matter.
Nyachae says the President must lead by example in respecting the court order issued on February 4 that required him to gazette the nominees within seven days of the order.
“This overt contempt of the court and its constitutional mandate takes impunity to a new level. If the President, who has taken an oath to uphold, to defend and to protect the Constitution, will not comply with a clear directive of the court, then the very essence of our Constitution, is in jeopardy,” said Nyachae.
Nyachae told a news conference that the disobedience of court orders by the highest office sets dangerous precedent especially at a time of the impending elections and with the likelihood of election disputes.
“There have already been allegations of possible attempts at rigging the elections. There is no doubt that there will be election petitions. The failure by disputants to obey court orders arising from election petitions shall lead the country to a state of uncertainty and resort to self help strategies including the perpetration of violence by those in whom the court does not grant a favourable award,” added Nyachae.
Nyachae said that the delay in the setting into operation of the key institution in land reforms should not be allowed to go on ‘especially bearing in mind that the emotive issue of land had caused bloodletting in the past.’
Last week the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) also appealed to the President to gazette the chairperson and members of the National Land Commission as many of the laws dealing with land reforms had been passed and need to be implemented.
On February 4 Justice David Majanja directed the President to gazette the Commission saying his failure to gazette the nine members was causing unnecessary panic and public anxiety.
He ruled that failure to finalise the appointment of the commissioners undercut the value of good governance as the body charged with instituting land reforms had been clouded in uncertainty for long periods.
“The process of appointment of the Chairperson and the Commission is set out in the First Schedule and no cause has been shown why it cannot be implemented. I also find that the failure by the President to appoint the chairperson and members of the commission undermines the value of good governance in that institution intended to govern land law and prepare policy remains in limbo for an indeterminate period,” justice Majanja ruled.
CIC called on the President Kibaki to carry the constitutional responsibilities of his office and remain accountable to Kenyans saying he will in doing so, safeguard his legacy.
Nyachae said that the President who currently enjoys immunity from legal proceedings was creating room for such action if he continued to disrespect the court order.
Parliament in August last year approved nominees to the Commission led by Chairman Mohammed Swazuri.
The commissioners are: Tomiik Mboya Konyimbih, Silas Kinoti Muriithi, Rose Mumbua Musyoka, Samuel Kipng’etich Tororei, Abigail Mbagaya, Emma Muthoni Njogu, Clement Isaiah Lenachuru and Abdulkadir Adan Khalif.