CJ right to seek dissolution of Parliament

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) chats with Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court at a past event.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta has twice sworn to defend the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya

Since the Chief Justice issued an advisory to the President to dissolve Parliament for its failure to legislate on the two-thirds gender rule, there have been different opinions as to whether it is valid and ought to be acted upon.

I agree that Kenya is a very argumentative society and everybody tends to come up with their interpretation of the law. Many prominent lawyers are adept at interpreting the law to suit the circumstances of their client.

That is why the ultimate responsibility of interpreting the laws and the Constitution falls on not the lawyers or politicians but the judicial arm of the government, which is headed by the CJ.

I may not have gone to law school but Article 261 (7) of the Constitution is very unambiguous on the contentious topic: “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 (emphasis mine).”

President Uhuru Kenyatta has twice sworn to defend the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. He doesn’t need any other advisory other than that of the CJ to act. Kenya is a constitutional democracy and the best advice the President should ever get from me is this: Follow the law.

Mr Maraga has performed his constitutional responsibility on this matter. It’s now up to the President to do his part and dissolve Parliament.

President Kenyatta has nothing to lose by obeying the Constitution. The nation is looking up to him to demonstrate that we all are equal before the law and that Parliament or any other arm of government is not above the law.

Sometimes obeying the law is painful but we don’t have a choice because we gave unto ourselves this Constitution. There is a reason that the same Constitution gives a framework on how Kenya is governed and the gender rule is not an exception.

Daniel Juma Omondi, executive director, Global Peace Foundation Kenya

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The anger with which MPs have met the advice by the Chief Justice on the need to dissolve Parliament is not only unconstitutional but also an embodiment of the legislators’ lack of goodwill towards implementation of laws.

Parliament had ample time to fix the issue of gender balance once and for all. Unfortunately, the parliamentarians chose not to implement the very Constitution they claim to protect, something that has illegitimised the occupation.

This can only be redeemed by the president stepping up his authority to send the law makers home for they have not only betrayed the electorate but also the laws of the land.

Morgan Chiti Julius, Vihiga