“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.
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 →
I generally do not follow politics. Why, you ask? Because I decided when I was about 11 years old that if I wanted to see the bad guy win all the time, I’d watch reruns of ‘The Usual Suspects‘. Kenyan Politics is painful and boring; the same idiots committing the same crimes against the same people – us – and always getting away with it.
Although I have been somewhat following this MP taxation issue. Not so much because I wanted to see MPs get taxed, I just wanted to see how they’d avoid paying taxes. And boy has it been hilarious retarded.
The new Constitution – which we promulgated and slaughtered goats over in August 2010 – categorically states that no Kenyan MP shall be exempt from paying taxes. It further states that Parliament can not put into place laws or mechanisms that facilitate this tax evasion. I didn’t understand most of the constitution, but that part was pretty black and white.
But here we are almost a year later and our MPs still don’t pay taxes. Why? Continue reading →