Jubilee leaders to push for referendum to reduce Judiciary powers

Friday February 17 2017

Nyeri County Commissioner Benard Lebarmarai

Nyeri County Commissioner Benard Lebarmarai (left) Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri (centre) and Kieni MP Kanini Kega distribute relief food to residents of Lamuria in Kieni, Nyeri County on February 16, 2017. Mr Kiunjuri and Mr Kega demanded for a referendum after elections to strip the Judiciary powers. PHOTO | BONIFACE MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BONIFACE MWANGI
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Some Jubilee leaders have vowed to push for a referendum after the August elections to slash the powers of the Judiciary.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and Kieni MP Kanini Kega were reacting to a recent High Court ruling in which Judge George Odunga nullified a Sh2.5 billion ballot paper printing tender saying it will affect the electoral body's timelines.

This ruling rubbed some lawmakers from the Jubilee side the wrong way and they accused the Judiciary of overstepping its mandate.

According to the minister, the referendum will be aimed at abolishing a section of the Constitution that gives courts absolute powers.

HELD HOSTAGE

“From how we have seen things going, a referendum is imminent. The Judiciary has really taken other arms of government hostage,” said Mr Kiunjuri during a press conference Thursday evening in Nyeri.

The duo said the Judiciary is sabotaging the electoral process in making several rulings against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission but favouring the Opposition.

“How sure are we that the same Judiciary will not nullify the second tender and what will happen?” asked Mr Kiunjuri.

He said the Judiciary has already taken sides and it is leaning towards the opposition, adding that they know judges who have already taken sides.

The Opposition, he said, has already shown signs that it is not ready for the elections since it has not agreed on who will be its flag-bearer. He said opposition politicians are now using courts just to make sure elections don’t take place on August 8 this year.

EXTENDED REGISTRATION TIME

Mr Kega said the referendum will focus on stripping the Judiciary of some powers. He said the courts were making laws instead of interpreting them.

“From the look of things, the Judiciary will soon start electing the President, church bishops and IEBC commissioners. This is unacceptable," said the MP.

The two leaders also condemned Justice Chacha's decision to add three more days to the mass voter registration drive.

They said Jubilee MPs will not allow the August 8 elections to be postponed, noting that they are ready for it.

“Kenyans are ready for elections and there is no way a few individuals can hold the country [to] ransom,” said Mr Kega.