High Court delivers another shocker to Uhuru

High court threw out another of Uhuru's executive orders.

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has had another of his Executive orders declared unconstitutional by the High Court.

Executive Order 1 of 2020 would have placed the Judiciary, commissions and independent offices under ministries and government departments.

The LSK, which had filed the petition, told the court that the Executive cannot restructure or assign functions to other arms and independent commissions.

“I find that the petitioner has demonstrated that the intended restructures of the Judiciary, an arm of government, by the Executive arm of the government and placing various tribunals and Judicial Service Commission under various ministries and State departments is a threat to judicial independence,” High Court Judge James Makau ruled.

The commissions affected by the order include the Judicial Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission, Parliamentary Service Commission and Commission of Administrative Justice, among others.

“I find the Executive Order purporting to re-organise the government structures, including independent commissions, is illegal and unconstitutional insofar as any amendment or restructuring to independent commissions are concerned, as it should be carried out by way of a referendum,” the Judge said.

The Kenya National Human Rights Commission had also raised concern over the order,

citing that it was written in a manner that suggested that they were under the command of the president.

Political Implication

Other than uproar from the legal professionals, President Kenyatta’s order also caused a storm in political circles.

The re-designation of the executive office of Deputy President William Ruto into a department within the office of the president was seen as a demotion of the DP.

Many lawyers argued that Uhuru had abolished the Presidency while others said that the term was only used in politics to give the impression that Uhuru shared power with Ruto.

“The term presidency was used very loosely because it is not a term that is known in law. It was political because there is nothing called the Presidency. It creates the impression as if the presidency is something that someone is holding with another person. You can only have one president. I think this is why the clashes in Jubilee government have happened because of the misconstruction of the word presidency,” commented Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior.

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