Kenya: MPs to debate joint report on Ringera next week

kenya_speaker_kenneth_marendeParliament will next week debate a joint report on the reappointment of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission director and his two assistants.

This follows Thursdays ruling by Speaker Kenneth Marende (pictured) allowing the joint report by the House committees of Delegated Legislation and that of Justice and Legal Affairs on the controversial reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera and his assistants Fatuma Sichale and Smokin Wanjala.

In exercise of the discretion conferred upon the chair by the Standing Orders I hereby allow debate on the report, the Speaker ruled.

Mr Marende overruled arguments advanced by the Minister for Justice Mutula Kilonzo and Attorney-General Amos Wako that the report should not be debated as the matter was already in court.

Mr Kilonzo and Mr Wako had argued that such debate would prejudice the fair hearing of the matter by the court. They were referring to a case in which the Nairobi chapter of the Law Society of Kenya and 15 activists have gone to court seeking to have Justice Ringeras re-appointment revoked.

But Mr Marende ruled that Mr Kilonzo and Mr Wako had not presented any evidence before Parliament to demonstrate that the case was in progress.

The speaker further ruled that Parliament had started discussing the controversial reappointment of Mr Ringera and his two assistants even before the matter went to court.

If this House begins to consider a matter before it becomes a subject of litigation in court, the House will not easily give up such a matter, Mr Marende ruled.

He quoted a ruling made by his predecessor, Mr Francis Ole Kaparo on April 13, 1999, warning that Parliaments authority to deliberate on matters would not be compromised by apprehensive parties rushing to court to gag it.

He further maintained that the national interest Mr Ringeras re-appointment had elicited far superceded the sub judice rule.

But he rejected an appeal by Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto to have yesterdays order paper revised so that the chairman of the Committee on Delegated Legislation immediately moves debate on the report.

Mr Marende said the debate on the report of the Mau task force, which was listed for debate, was of equal national importance. The report has already recommended the dismissal of the Kacc boss and seeks to quash the Kenya Gazette notice making the appointment.

Should MPs get their way, this will be the first win in their three-pronged approach to push the President to rescind Justice Ringeras appointment.

The House already has a pending amendment to freeze Kaccs Sh1.3 billion budget and a further amendment to withhold the money due to Mr Ringera and his deputies. And if that fails it seeks to bring a Bill to abolish the Kacc.

Even as it is evident that interpretation of the law is the Judiciarys domain, by adopting the report the House will have declared that it has no faith in the Kacc and thus it will stop accepting Kacc reports.

The debate on the matter will come before the House on Tuesday, after Parliament concludes debate on the government task forces report on the conservation of the Mau Forest Complex.

Saturday Nation

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