CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

Aukot faults High Court decision on Punguza Mizigo Bill

Ruling stopped the 47 county assemblies from debating the Bill until a case challenging it is determined.

In Summary

• Justice James Makau stopped the party from presenting the Bill to the speaker of the National Assembly, pending a case filed in court against it.

• The case is to be heard on August 13.

Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot addressing the county assembly of Garissa yesterday.
SABOTAGE: Thirdway Alliance Kenya party leader Ekuru Aukot addressing the county assembly of Garissa yesterday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot has accused the courts of frustrating the Punguza Mizigo Bill that proposes amendments to the Constitution.

Last week, a High Court ruling stopped the 47 county assemblies from debating the Bill until a case challenging it is determined within 14 days. 

But Aukot now says the actions by the courts could create a constitutional crisis on the timelines for the Bill.

 

“The constitutional timelines given to the county assemblies is static and it's three months. So if you take away the 14 days how will they recover them?” Aukot asked.

The Bill was cleared by the IEBC on July 18 after over 1.2 million signatures it collected were verified.

At least 24 counties are required to endorse it before it moves to the next stage.  

While making his ruling, Justice James Makau also stopped the party from presenting the Bill to the speaker of the National Assembly, pending the case. 

The judge said the orders will remain in force for 14 days as other parties named in the petition filed their responses. The case is to be heard on August 13.

The petition was filed by David Kamau Ngari and the International Economic Law Centre.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the speakers of National Assembly and Senate, Thirdway Alliance and 47 speakers of the county assemblies are respondents. 

 
 

Addressing the press outside the Garissa county assembly, Aukot said that courts should not be used by the political class to settle scores.

Aukot took issue with the judge for refusing to give any conservatory orders or hearing a petition his party had filed against the Building Bridges Initiative in January.  

The county assembly speaker Ibrahim Abass and MCAs who spoke promised to unanimously support the Bill.

Deputy speaker Ibrahim Abass criticised recent threats by National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale that MCAs would face unnamed consequences for passing the Bill. 

“The county assembly is not an extension of the National Assembly. We are an independent house whose members understand their mandate,” Ibrahim said.

Some of the proposals in the Bill include reducing the cost of running parliament by reducing the number of MPs from 416 to 147. 

Aukot also wants use the 47 counties used as a single constituency unit for purposes of parliamentary elections.

They want one man and one woman elected from each of the 47 counties to the national assembly and abolition of the position of deputy governor.

Other proposals include abolishing nomination seats in county assemblies and senate, reduce special interest group seats in the National Assembly to six.

(edited by O. Owino)