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Hearing of case challenging security laws begins

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CORD through lawyer James Orengo told presiding judge Isaac Lenaola who is heading a five-judge bench that the law touches on county issues and should have been dealt with by both the National Assembly and the Senate/FILE

CORD through lawyer James Orengo told presiding judge Isaac Lenaola who is heading a five-judge bench that the law touches on county issues and should have been dealt with by both the National Assembly and the Senate/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – The High Court on Wednesday began a three-day hearing of the petition by CORD challenging implementation of the controversial security laws, with the manner in which the legalisation was passed questioned.

CORD through lawyer James Orengo told presiding judge Isaac Lenaola who is heading a five-judge bench that the law touches on county issues and should have been dealt with by both the National Assembly and the Senate.

Orengo contended that there was confusion among the Speakers of the two Houses on how to treat the bill whereupon National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi sought to delete clauses relating to county governments.

“Even the way the bill was treated prior to its passage shows that the stipulated procedures were not adhered to. It was rushed to such an extent that it was not dealt with as comprehensively as should have been done,” he said.

While drawing attention to a series of correspondences between Muturi and Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, he described the process followed as roughshod and asserted that the law as laid out was not adhered to.

“In one of the letters to the Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi stated that ‘It is my view that the bill does not have anything to do with counties,’ but then Ethuro replied back stating, ‘There are some provisions in the bill that concerns counties and as such I must decline to concur until they are addressed’,” Orengo read out.

He argued that the publication period was reduced to one day as opposed to the required 14 days and emphasised the need for both Houses to perform their functions in accordance with the Constitution.

“When enacting the legislation before it, Parliament must follow the necessary steps as laid out in the Constitution. The National Assembly and the Senate are required to perform their respective functions in line with the Constitution,” he said.

He further declared that Kenya is a constitutional democracy and that all people including the State must be subject to the laws of the land.

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“Sovereign power must be exercised in accordance with the Constitution. It therefore follows that no organ of State can claim any further superior power. Anything done under the Constitution is subject to the same Constitution,” he stated.

He affirmed that the laws established must bring essential value to the human rights of its citizens.

CORD has already obtained orders suspending eight sections of the laws.

Justice George Odunga suspended the clauses on January 2 following petitions by CORD and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

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