Economy

Five judges picked to hear petitions on dissolution of Parliament

mwilu

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The bench will be chaired by Justice Lydia Achode.
  • Other judges are Justices George Odunga, James Makau, Anthony Ndungu and Pauline Nyamweya.
  • Ms Mwilu formed the bench since the Chief Justice is a respondent in the petitions, hence he could not appoint the judges.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has formed a five-judge bench to hear and determine five petitions filed on Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta on the dissolution of Parliament over the two-thirds gender rule.

The bench will be chaired by Justice Lydia Achode.

Other judges are Justices George Odunga, James Makau, Anthony Ndungu and Pauline Nyamweya.

Ms Mwilu formed the bench since the Chief Justice is a respondent in the petitions, hence he could not appoint the judges.

The formation of the bench complies with directions given by Justice Weldon Korir after consolidating the petitions.

Justice Korir also allowed the petitioners’ request to have the cases heard and determined by a bench of at least three judges.

The application was based on the fact that the petitions have raised novel issues of law regarding Chief Justice Maraga’s unprecedented advisory dated September 21.

Among the questions that the bench will address is whether President Uhuru Kenyatta can disregard CJ’s advisory and the timeline within which he is bound to dissolve Parliament.

This is because Article 261 (7) of the Constitution, does not stipulate the timeframe within which the President should act as advised by the Chief Justice.

The bench will also determine whether Parliament is bound by the principle of perpetual succession, such that the current 12th Parliament is liable for omissions and acts of the 11th Parliament.

The petitioners include the Thirdway Alliance Party, which is seeking enforcement of the advisory. It wants the court to make a declaration that the advisory was not a “mere recommendation but a constitutional command”, which President Kenyatta has no option of disregarding.

Other petitioners such as the National Assembly and Senate, lawyer Kamotho Njenga, two voters (Leina Konchellah and Mohsen Abdul Munasah) and Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch want the advisory quashed.

In his petition lodged last week, MP Oluoch says the Chief Justice violated political rights of the lawmakers.