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February 22, 2019

High Court rules Parliament has no powers to nominate NCIC commissioners

Former NCIC chairman Francis Kaparo and commissioner Morris Dzoro address the media at Safari Park Hotel on May 17, 2017. /JOSEPH NDUNDA
Former NCIC chairman Francis Kaparo and commissioner Morris Dzoro address the media at Safari Park Hotel on May 17, 2017. /JOSEPH NDUNDA

The High Court on Tuesday declared the recruitment of commissioners to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission by Parliament as unconstitutional.

The court ruled that any appointment resulting from the nominations by Parliament was null and void.

Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the National Assembly has no powers to nominate people to the commission, saying that the MPs' mandate must be within the constitution.

She was ruling on a petition filed by activist Okiya Omtatah which sought to have Parliament stopped from recruiting the commissioners.

Omtatah argued that the exercise ought to be carried out by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and not Parliament.

The activist said the House should only be restricted to vetting those recruited by the PSC and recommend them for a presidential appointment if approved.

Read: Court to rule on Omtatah case contesting hiring of NCIC commissioners

The National Assembly's committee on cohesion and equal opportunities had commenced the recruitment of seven commissioners.

It had scheduled interviews for 54 candidates shortlisted on November 12 to 14 last year.

However, Justice Okwany agreed with Omtatah quashing the NCIC Act.

“An order is hereby issued quashing section 17(1) (a) and (b) of the National Cohesion and Integration-NCIC Act no. 12 of 2008 and the procedure for nominating commissioners of NCIC by the National Assembly under the First Schedule of the Act is unconstitutional and therefore invalid, null and void," Okwany ruled.

The positions of commissioners fell vacant in August last year after the terms of the commissioners led by Francis Kaparo expired.

Also in the team were Irene Wanyoike (deputy), Belinda Ochiel, Adan Abdi Mohammed, and Roba Sharamo.

Others were Joseph Nasongo, Morris Dzoro, and Gitile Naituli.

They were supposed to serve a three-year term from 2014, but President Uhuru Kenyatta extended it by a year.

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