COMMENT

MPs' payout petition an exercise in futility

Countless litigants rue the failure of the Attorney General to honour court awards due to the living and the dead.

In Summary

• As if oblivious of the bureaucratic red tape and legal hurdles ahead, Malava MP Malulu Injendi has asked the government to release Sh3,325,200 a court awarded  Nancy Sarah Kharwali's family against the state.

• Kharwali, a mother of two was fatally wounded by trigger-happy Kenya Police officers in Nairobi's Dandora estate nine years ago. 

Malava Member of Parliament Malulu Injendi addressing the press outside CDF offices on Friday he is flanked by the area MCAs
Malava Member of Parliament Malulu Injendi addressing the press outside CDF offices on Friday he is flanked by the area MCAs
Image: CALISTUS LUCHETU

A petition in Parliament to compel the government to expedite compensation award to a Malava woman's family has come at a time countless litigants are crying for justice from the office of the Attorney General.

 As if oblivious of the bureaucratic red tape and legal hurdles ahead, Malava MP Malulu Injendi has asked the government to release Sh3,325,200 a court awarded Nancy Sarah Kharwali's family against the state.

Kharwali, a mother of two was fatally wounded by trigger-happy Kenya Police officers in Nairobi's Dandora estate nine years ago. 

Kharwali's family are lucky because they have a mindful leader out here to highlight the plight of her survivors in the law-making institution.

In the ensuing legislative debate, several suggestions were offered among them, publication of a list of pending payments to the litigants and the time frame within which to honour the outstanding awards.

In light of the foregoing, countless litigants rue the failure of the Attorney General to honour court awards due to the living and the dead. 

However, Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch reminded his legislative colleagues that an attempt to execute proceedings against the state is an exercise in futility if not an impossibility.

The Kisumu West lawmaker pointed out that the Government Proceedings Act prohibits any execution against the state. He added that a previous attempt to amend the Act hit a brick wall.

Parliamentarians across the political divide share the blame for the routine frustration of litigants due for compensation. It is on record that parliamentarians scrapped the Office of Public Defender in the proposed draft constitution promulgated in 2010.

Had the legislators endorsed the establishment of the office, petitions against the state on delayed payments would have been avoided. So, for political leaders to masquerade as defenders of the lesser mortals in the country, is, to say the least, shedding of crocodile tears.

Kenyans ask, if the Attorney General’s office can lead the rest of state offices in defying court orders and subverting justice, where will the aggrieved seek advisory opinion? 

In 1992, former Attorney General and Senator Amos Wako disowned a task he assigned a senior officer, Michael Odongo Jobita to conduct democracy campaign partners from Britain around the offices of the then multiparty crusaders and prominent government officers. Among state officers contacted and met by the visitors under Jobita’s guide was former Chief Justice Bernard Chunga.

Jobita was retired on alleged undertaking unauthorised task. The Public Service Commission absolved the officer of wrongdoing and ordered his reinstatement with full pay, salary adjustments and promotions. The AG's office has failed to honour the commission’s findings and decisions also upheld by the High Court.

The persecution of the officer smacks complicity, malice and double standards by a country that boasts high standards of the rule of law and democracy. Similarly, the loud silence of the British government on the problems of the guide of its delegation to Kenya speaks volumes.

 

The writer is a freelance journalist. Email [email protected]