What you need to know:
- Judge rules that it is unlawful to use the public portal to advertise the government’s achievements.
- The High Court stopped the government from making any advertisements on its achievements through any form of media.
The state will no longer publish its achievements in a public portal or any form of media.
This follows High Court Judge Enoch Chacha Mwita’s ruling on Thursday, which suspended the posting of the government’s achievements in the website www.delivery.go.ke.
The achievements are popularly posted using the hashtags #JubileeDelivers or #GOKDelivers.
Justice Mwita declared that the purported use of the public portal to advertise the government’s achievements is unlawful and violates the Elections Act.
The judge stopped the government from making any advertisements on its achievements through any form of media, saying that it involved the use of public resources unlawfully.
“An order of permanent injunction is hereby issued restraining the national government, whether by itself, agents, servants, proxies or any other person acting under its authority or direction, advertise achievements of any programmes or projects across the country in the last four years during the election period,” said Justice Mwita.
The judge pointed out that public resources for the general welfare of the people of Kenya must be safeguarded and yet that has been violated.
The judge ruled in a case in which Apollo Mboya, the former Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive, had sued the state over the said adverts during the election period.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) were listed as interested parties in the case, as well as 13 city residents.
According to Mr Mboya, Section 14(2) of the Elections Act bars the government from proclaiming its achievements during the election period and using public resources to do so.
The said law was published in the Kenya Gazette on March 17 by the IEBC.
Mr Mboya had claimed that the ruling Jubilee party has been trumpeting its achievements in the wrong period, and that information posted on the website is allegedly misleading and has been questioned by Kenyans on Twitter.
In his suit, he had argued that the advertising puts the government on the spot over the integrity of the achievements and that the continuous advertising poses a threat to free and fair elections.
He had also faulted the IEBC and the DPP, claiming they failed to initiate investigations into that election offence that could undermine the coming polls.
The portal was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 10, but Mr Mboya moved to court in June.
The residents had defended the government’s actions in the case.
On October 2, Justice Mwita temporarily suspended the publication of achievements in that website in a case filed by Katiba Institute, a lobby that has unsuccessfully sought information concerning the said achievements with an aim of establishing the extent of violation of the electoral law during the campaign period.
But the government protested against that temporary order while claiming that it adversely affected the functional existence of the President’s Delivery Unit that is mandated to report to the public on a timely basis fulfilled development programmes.
The institute sought to know the number of advertisements PDU had published, the medium used to air the adverts and the dates aired.
They also wanted to know the number of copies of all the adverts, the total cost incurred to advertise and the person who or entity which authorised payments for the advertisements.
Despite this reprieve, its case will come up on November 8.