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Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.

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Blow to President Kenyatta as court quashes his appointments

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- The High Court has quashed the appointment of 129 board members and Parastatals heads in a case filed by activists who cited numerous illegalities.

A three-judge bench ruled that the appointments made by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries in June 2018, are “invalid and unconstitutional,” another blow to the government days after the constitututional court declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional ammendment process a nullity.  

Justices Jessie Lesiit, Chacha Mwita and Lucy Njuguna said the appointments were illegal as they lacked transparency and competitiveness.

“A declaration is hereby made that the appointments to various Parastatals and State Corporations by the President and the Cabinet Secretaries on 5th and 7th June, 2018 which were notified through Kenya Gazette Notice Numbers 5569 to 5621 and 5622 to 5623, are unconstitutional for violating Articles 10 and 232 of the Constitution and are, therefore, invalid,” a part of the judgment states.

The court said that parastatals appointment must be competitive, fair and transparent, considering persons with disabilities and Kenya’s diverse communities.

There was no immediate comment from the Attorney General’s office or State House.

The petition was filed by two non-government organizations — the Katiba Institute and Africa Centre for Open Governance.

The judges noted that courts, in exercising judicial authority, are guided by the principle of protecting and promoting the purpose and principles of the Constitution and anything that goes against that is illegal.

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 “The requirement made in the Constitution (Article 232) was after views of Kenyans were collected during the constitution-making of the Constitution 2010. People of Kenya wanted to see transparent appointments and officers capable of guiding public wealth, not political patronage,” said the judges.

Further, the court pointed out that the appointments did not demonstrate a representation of Kenya’s diverse communities and that there was no adequate opportunity in terms of gender, members of all ethnic groups and persons with disabilities.

Among the parastatal heads who will be affected by the ruling include former Chief of Defence Force Julius Karangi and a host of 2017 poll losers among them former governors Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) and Godana Doyo (Isiolo).

Others include former Security minister George Saitoti’s widow Margaret Wanjiru, former president Mwai Kibaki’s daughter Judith Wanjiku, and Mombasa gubenatorial aspirant Suleiman Shabhal.

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