The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) will with immediate effect challenge in the High Court Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has said.
The President of the Supreme Court of Kenya had on Monday advised the Head of State to dissolve the August House over its failure to enact legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule.
Addressing members of the Press at Parliament buildings on Tuesday, Speaker Muturi faulted the CJ terming the advisory as unlawful and unconstitutional.
“The commission regrets that the Chief Justice appears to be willing, even eager to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis without exercising wisdom and circumspection that is expected of the high office he holds, ” Muturi said adding that his Senate counterpart Kenneth Lusaka is in support of the legal action.
Muturi had yesterday criticized Maraga’s move saying the gender rule should be subjected to a referendum due to the cost of implementing it.
“Given the current efforts and initiatives to amend the Constitution that are currently underway such as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), the issue on two-thirds gender rule can be subjected to a referendum in the event the same happens,” he said.
“Owing to the cost implications of implementing the two-thirds gender rule through other mechanisms such as nomination and topping up, it is prudent if the matter were to be subjected to the people once more for a reevaluation or to propose ways of achieving two-thirds gender rule.”
Muturi said Parliament should not be used as a punching bag, adding that it was unrealistic for the CJ to call for its dissolution.
“We must not lose sight of the real challenges in implementing this matter and turn Parliament into a punching bag on account of gender parity,” he added.
“The clamour for dissolution of the current Parliament on account of failure to enact the two-third gender legislation is at the very least, unrealistic.”
He went on, “Given that legislators decide through voting in Parliament, this would in essence mean that there are an additional 100 votes of nominated women legislators, yet these legislators are not a direct expression of the will of the people. That elected legislators wield more legitimacy relative to nominated legislators can be deduced from article 123 of the Constitution with respect to voting in the Senate.”
Maraga had indicated that his advisory is based on six petitions filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) , Margaret Toili, Fredrick Gichanga Mbugua’h, Stephen Owako, Johnn Wangai, Aoko Bernard and David Sudi.
The petitioners had faulted parliament over failure to pass the laws in accordance with Article 27(3) read together with Articles 81(b) and 100 of the 2010 Constitution despite four Court orders.
In his statement, Maraga said Parliament should be held accountable for failing the Kenyan people.
“Let us endure pain if only to remind ourselves that, as a country, being a democracy that has chosen to be governed by the rule of law, we must say no to impunity and hold everyone accountable for their actions or omissions, ” said Maraga.
“Your Excellency, it is my constitutional duty to advise you, the President of the Republic of Kenya, which I hereby do, to dissolve Parliament in accordance with Article 261(7).”
Maraga’s advise has elicited mixed reactions on social media with a section of Kenyan leaders supporting and others giving divergent views.