Court suspends MPs’ immunity laws recently signed by Uhuru

September 26, 2017 (4 weeks ago) 5:48 pm
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President Kenyatta assented to the law that also aims at making provisions regulating admittance to and conduct within the precincts of Parliament/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 26 – The High Court has suspended three provisions of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, 2017 that were recently signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Justice John Mativo on Tuesday stopped the implementation of Sections 3, 7 and 11 of the Act following an application by lawyer Apollo Mboya who is seeking to reduce powers, privileges and immunity enjoyed by Members of Parliament.

The former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chief executive is challenging the law that he says grants lawmakers including Members of the County Assemblies ‘super immunity.’

Mboya argues that the end result of that law is to lock out even courts from questioning proceedings or decisions of Parliament.

Following the directive, the Attorney General, the Senate and National Assembly have been jointly restrained from entering any directives pursuant to the contested sections until the matter is resolved.

Mboya has further been directed to serve the petition upon the respondents immediately to facilitate a hearing.

President Kenyatta assented to the law that also aims at making provisions regulating admittance to and conduct within the precincts of Parliament.

But Mboya wants the court to nullify the Act on grounds that there was no public participation and involvement of key stakeholders such as the Judiciary.

According to Mboya the sections prevent a court of law from questioning any proceedings or decision of Parliament including the illegality, irregularity or constitutionality or otherwise of any legislation.

“The Act insulates legal officers and staff of Parliament from service of any court process including this petition where the court is exercising its civil jurisdiction,” Mboya argues.

He goes on to say that the Act purports to confer non-existent powers, privileges and immunity on all staff of Parliament from a court process thus elevating them above the law contrary to the supreme law.

“The Act makes Parliament supreme to the Constitution as a house of secrets beyond the reach of a court process and by extension beyond members of the public intending to safeguard constitutional rights and protection of the constitution,” Mboya adds.

Mboya has faulted President Kenyatta for abusing his powers and mandate under Article 115(1) by assenting it into law instead of referring the Bill back to Parliament for amendment.

“The Act elevates Parliament beyond scrutiny by the courts in Kenya even when there is clear violation of the Constitution,” Mboya contends.

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