PSC moves to High Court to challenge Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of Parliament


PSC moves to High Court to challenge Maraga's advisory on dissolution of Parliament
The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) addresses the press on September 22, 2020 following Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of Parliament. PHOTO | EDWIN OBUYA | CITIZEN DIGITAL

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) now says it has resolved to engage legal counsel and move to the High Court to challenge Chief Justice David Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of Parliament.

The commission spoke during a press address on Tuesday saying it had come to the decision following a special meeting and after consultation with the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament.

According to the PSC, the Chief Justice’s advice to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament “is ill advised, premature and unconstitutional and is a recipe for plunging the country into a constitutional crisis of monumental proportions.”

“The Commission notes with disappointment that the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice has ignored fundamental issues that go to the root of the fabric and structure of our Constitution in advising the President to dissolve Parliament,” said PSC Chair and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

“In particular, the Honourable Chief Justice glossed over the fact that there are two High Court petitions set for hearing on October 7, 2020 to determine, among other issues, whether the order made by Justice Mativo on March 29, 2017 during the tenure of the 11th Parliament is applicable to the 12th Parliament which was elected in August 2017. It is therefore premature for the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice to take this action while the High Court is yet to determine this matter.”

Speaker Muturi further added: “The Commission regrets that the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice appears to be willing, even eager, to plunge the country into a constitutional crisis without exercising the wisdom and circumspection that is expected of the high office that he holds.”

Speaker Muturi also stated that, in the meantime, all Members of Parliament will continue receiving their salaries.

CJ Maraga on Monday wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta advising him to dissolve Parliament over its inability to pass the two-thirds gender rule.

The Chief Justice, in his unprecedented move, said Parliament has refused to comply with the High Court order to enact legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule for over nine years.

“It is incontestable that Parliament has not complied with the High Court order in Constitutional Petition No. 371 of 2016. As such, for over 9 years now, Parliament has not enacted the legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule which, as the Court of Appeal observed in its said judgement, is clear testimony of Parliament’s lackadaisical attitude and conduct this matter,” he said.

“If Parliament fails to enact legislation in accordance with an order under clause (6)(b), the Chief Justice shall advise the President to dissolve Parliament and the President shall dissolve Parliament. It is my constitutional duty to advise you, the President of the Republic of Kenya, which I hereby do, to dissolve Parliament.”

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Story By Edwin Obuya
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