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CJ Maraga wrote to the President asking him to dissolve Parliament over the continued violation of the two thirds gender representation rule/FILE

Kenya

LSK to lead ‘occupy Parliament’ protests amid dissolution uncertainty

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – In a move meant to pile pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament, the Law Society of Kenya has declared plans to lead mass protests to occupy Parliament precincts until a by-election is held.

LSK President Nelson Havi on Thursday said the occupation of Parliament will commence on October 12 “until the day Kenyans will be allowed to elect new representatives.”

He said the constitution allows the people to exercise their “sovereign power directly.”

Addressing a press conference on Chief Justice David Maraga’s advise for the dissolution of Parliament, Havi further called on Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to withdraw bodyguards assigned to legislators once the set timeline lapses.

“We have also asked the Parliamentary Commission to ensure that the two houses of Parliament are closed to members of the National Assembly and Senate effective October 12 because these individuals will no longer have the authority of Kenyans to hold themselves as Parliamentarians,” he said.

CJ Maraga wrote to the President asking him to dissolve Parliament over the continued violation of the two thirds gender representation rule.

Havi has termed the current situation a problem that can on be fixed through a by-election, ruling out those terming it as a constitutional crisis.

He further turned heat on political party leaders, whom he said have triggered the problem because they failed to ensure the two-third gender rule is observed at the nomination stage.

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Further, he said LSK will write to the European Union, East African Community, World Bank and other international development partners “not to transact business with the Republic of Kenya where such a business requires parliamentary approval and oversight.”

“This is a grave matter, but it must be undertaken here and now, for there to be adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism,” Havi asserted.

In his advice, Maraga said he was on five petitions filed pursuant to Article 261 (7) of the Constitution.

He said the petitions received between April 2019 and July 2020 had been consolidated into one.

“It is incontestable that Parliament has not complied with the High Court order, As such, for over 9 years now, Parliament has not enacted the legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule which, as the court of Appeal observed in its said judgment, it is clear testimony of Parliament’s lackadaisical attitude and conduct in this matter. Consequently, it is my constitutional duty to advise Your Excellency to dissolve Parliament under Article 261 (7) of the Constitution.”

Maraga said although Parliament’s dissolution my cause great inconvenience, it was necessary to promote respect for the rule of law.

“There is no doubt that the dissolution of Parliament will cause inconvenience and even economic hardship. The fact that Kenya is in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated the potential impact of the decision. Yet that is a clear result Kenyans desired for Parliament’s failure to enact legislation they deemed necessary . We must never forget that more often than not, there is no gain with pain,” said the Chief Justice.

The petitions are based on the failure by lawmakers to comply with four court orders compelling Parliament to enact legislation to operationalize the two-thirds gender rule despite a Supreme Court order issue in 2015.

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