President Uhuru given 14 days to respond to suit

NAIROBI, KENYA: The High Court has given President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto 14 days to respond to a suit seeking to remove them from office.

The Attorney General Githu Muigai, acting on behalf of Uhuru and Ruto asked Justice Isaac Lenaola for time to file a response objecting to the application. The Judge noted that he had given the AG time to respond to the application on December 10 last year yet they had not responded.

“I have no response from your office and I do not want to make a ruling without the response of the AG,” said Lenaola. He directed the AG to file a response for the application within 14 days and appear before him for hearing on January 24. Isaac Aluochier wants Uhuru and Ruto to cease from holding the top jobs in the country for allegedly being in office illegally.

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He argued that prior to becoming President, between  August 27,2010 and April 2012, Uhuru was Kanu Chairman and continued to hold the position of  an appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Kenya  right until he assumed office as President. He accused Ruto of prior to becoming Deputy President, between August 27 2010 and August 2011, was both the Deputy Party Leader, Strategy of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) an appointed Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology.

Aluochier cited Article 77(2) of the Constitution which prohibits an appointed State officer from holding office in a political party. “By the Respondents holding both the offices of appointed Ministers in the Cabinet, and political party offices, they contravened Article 77(2) of the Constitution,” he said. The petitioner wants the court declare that by the operation of Article 75(3) of the Constitution, the Respondents were rendered disqualified from holding any other State office.

In his petition, he wants the court to order the respondents’ holding of the offices of President and Deputy President to cease with immediate effect, as they are not qualified to hold these or any other State offices. The petitioner also wants the court to order the duo to pay general damages amounting to the cost of holding a presidential by-election, and the sum total of salaries and allowances they received as State officers over the period.
He argued that Pursuant to Article 75(2) of the Constitution, the Respondents had to be disciplined for their contraventions of Article 77(2), a discipline that was not carried out against them.  He added that notwithstanding the Respondents’ failure to be disciplined, pursuant to Article 2(4) of the Constitution, that failure to discipline the President and his Deputy was invalid, and they stood disciplined by the operation of law. “Consequently, any holding of State office by the Respondents, whether as Member of Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance or President, or as Member of Parliament, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology or Deputy  President, was invalid, pursuant to Article 2(4) of the Constitution, “said Aluochier.

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