, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has constituted a three-judge bench to hear a petition by a lobby group seeking to block the Senate from summoning nine Governors over alleged financial mismanagement.
In a statement, Mutunga asked Justice Hedwig Ong’udi (Presiding), Justice Cecilia Githua and Justice Boaz Olao to commence sittings at the earliest opportunity.
“All the benches have been requested to commence sittings as soon as possible. The concerned deputy registrars will communicate the commencement dates to the parties,” the statement said.
High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi referred the matter to the CJ after temporarily barring the Senate from summoning the Governors pending the outcome of the case.
The International Legal Consultancy Group argues that officers in counties are accountable to the County Assembly for financial management and the Senate will be usurping that power by summoning Governors.
The lobby group wants the Senate Standing Committee on Economic and Finance barred from summoning Governors from Bungoma, Bomet, Kiambu, Kitui, Kisumu, Nakuru, Narok, Tana River and Wajir Counties over financial queries.
The lobby’s lawyer Peter Wanyama argued that the summonses contravene Article 226(2) of the Constitution which provides that an accounting officer of a national public entity is accountable to the National Assembly for its financial management.
Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Ken Lusaka (Bungoma), William Kabogo (Kiambu), Julius Malombe (Kitui), Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), Kinuthia Mbugua (Nakuru), Samuel Tunai (Narok), Hussein Dado (Tana River) and Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir) received the summonses.
The Transition Authority has in the meantime reiterated the need for dialogue between the MPs, Senators and Governors to end the current stalemate.
Chairman Kinuthia Wamwangi told Capital FM News that given time, all the contentious issues in devolution will be ironed out.
“I do not think we have a right to make such judgments at this particular time. We initially said that there would be challenges and these are the teething problems that must occur but in the end maybe after this financial year, people will be amazed at how devolution will be working smoothly,” he said.
He stressed on the need for every arm of government to stick to their mandate to ensure everything runs smoothly.
“I put all my hope and commitment in devolution because I believe once we come to accept our roles and responsibilities in the manner that the law prescribes and everyone plays their part in accordance to the constitution, then everything will be very smooth and this country will only be going upwards,” he stated.