The MPs’ Salaries Case: A Triumph for Constitutional Supremacy in Kenya

Gado on MPs Salary Raise

“Parliamentarians are expected to operate within the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Parliament, like all other state organs, is not above the law. Members of the National Assembly, like all other state officers, and the National Assembly, like all other state organs are compelled by the Constitution to adhere to the national values and principles of governance found in Article 10 of the Constitution. We therefore agree with the petitioners that the resolution by the National Assembly to nullify the Gazette Notices published by the SRC was unconstitutional.” – Judgment in Petition No. 227 of 2013 at paragraph 82.

The above judgment by a three-judge bench sitting at the High Court at Nairobi is significant for two distinct yet connected reasons: firstly, it is a big win for the doctrine of constitutional supremacy against the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and secondly, it restores much-needed public trust in the ability of the Judiciary to dispense justice. A copy of this landmark judgment is available here.

In the recent past, there have been several spirited public campaigns against members of parliament (MPs) whom many registered voters feel have gone rogue by putting their narrow private interests above those of the electorate that put them in public office. The climax of this perceived parliamentary impunity came in May 2013 when the National Assembly (NA) wrote to the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) purporting to nullify the remuneration of various categories of state officers which the SRC had published in the Kenya Gazette.

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#FUMP: Sam Ongeri Thinks Bloggers are Misleading Kenyans

Last night, Sam Ongeri decided to take on bloggers and let us know that we were wrongfully inciting Kenyans on Twitter to insult their leaders and further inform us that we could be legally dealt with.

I wasn’t online to see it, but quite a few people informed us because we’d printed some t-shirts earlier in the week expressing our displeasure with MPs and their greed. Thank you all.

As for you, Mr. Ongeri, a few things:

1. I refuse to call a man ‘Professor’ if he cannot distinguish between “they’re”, “there” and “their”. It is pre-primary grammar, Mr. Ongeri.

2. I refuse to call a man a leader if he cannot lead. At best, MPs are representatives. In fact, they’re our employees.

3. I refuse to call a man, Minister or otherwise, ‘Honorable’, if he is not honorable.

4. How dare you talk about misleading, Mr. Ongeri? How dare you talk about leadership? Continue reading

Recent Electoral Law Amendments: The Mechanical Jurisprudence of Rogue MPs

The Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2012 has been controversially amended, in part, as follows:

Elections Act, 2011 (No. 24 of 2011)

Qualifications for nomination of candidates.
22. (1) A person may be nominated as a candidate for an election under this Act only if that person—
(a) is qualified to be elected to that office under the Constitution and this Act; and
(b) holds a post secondary school qualification recognised in Kenya.
(b) holds, at the minimum, a certificate for end of secondary school education recognized in Kenya.

22A.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act and for the avoidance of doubt, a person who is nominated as a candidate for election as President or Deputy President is nevertheless eligible for nomination and may contest as a candidate for any other elective seat in the same elections.
(2) If a candidate for election as President or Deputy President is elected as such and is also elected for any other elective seat in the same elections, a vacancy shall thereupon be declared for that other elective seat and a by-election to fill such seat shall be held in accordance with this Act.

Participation in elections by public officers.

43.
(5) A public officer who intends to contest an election under this Act shall resign from public office at least seven months before the date of election.
(5) A public officer who intends to contest an election under this Act shall resign from public office at least five months before the date of election.


Airtime by state radio and television for election campaign.

108. All candidates and political parties participating in an election shall be allocated reasonable airtime on state radio and television broadcasting services during the campaign period.

108. All candidates and political parties participating in an election shall be allocated reasonable airtime on all broadcasting media during the campaign period.

Political Parties Act, 2011 (No. 11 of 2011)

Transitional provisions
S. 51
(1A) Until after the first general elections held after the commencement of this Act, nothing provided for in sub-sections (4), (5) or (7) of section 14 shall be construed as requiring a person to vacate his or her seat as a member of Parliament or of a local authority, or as disqualifying any person from eligibility to contest in an election under this Act.

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Daily Dozen: 10/01

Kenya Ni Yetu. Katiba Yetu. Maisha Yetu. [DR/NiSisi]
New front opened in war on graft in Kenya [DN]
Parliamentary Impunity: Where is the fury? [AlKags]
Disband Parliament before they disband everything? [Mzalendo]
What to Look out for in 2011 [Ratio]
All of Africa celebrates to see this peaceful referendum [Thabo Mbeki]
Africa’s impressive growth [Economist]
African Union: The limits of the possible [hurriyet]
Nigeria: The happiest place on earth [Guardian]
Blah Blah Blama [Magaribina]
The Story of the Late G.K Kirima [KHT]
Kenya Must Go to the Dogs First to Rise Again [KumeKucha]

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