Supreme Court shocker for Karua, Ahmednasir

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi.

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi.

Photo credit: File

The Supreme Court has said its decisions cannot be subjected to review before the East African Court of Justice (EACJ)

In a blow to Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and senior counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, the country’s apex court said decisions rendered by the regional court over judgments that have been finalised by the Supreme Court have no legal consequences.

“We further hold that domestic courts and regional courts, in this case, the EACJ, do not have a vertical relationship, meaning that decisions of the Supreme Court are not subject to appeal at the EACJ. The EACJ also does not have a merit review jurisdiction over decisions of the Supreme Court. We so find,” the bench presided by Chief Justice Martha Koome said.

Attorney General Justin Muturi sought the opinion of the court on the legal consequences and effects of decisions of the EACJ on Kenya’s sovereignty.

Mr Muturi said whereas there is no express provision in the East African Community (EAC) Treaty conferring upon the EACJ the jurisdiction to interpret the constitutions of partner States, the regional court has in a number of decisions, interpreted its jurisdiction to include the review of decisions issued by apex courts of partner states.

According to Mr Muturi, the decisions of the EACJ end up conflicting with judgments issued by the Supreme Court.

Mr Muturi added that if this trend continues, he was apprehensive that the purported exercise of appellate jurisdiction by the EACJ over decisions by national courts may conflict with Kenya’s commitment to the rule of law.

This is because the decisions would end up creating an absurd situation where differing holdings on similar questions based on the same facts are made by Kenyan courts on the one hand and the EACJ on the other hand.

He cited a decision of the regional court awarding politician Martha Karua Sh2.7 million in damages for infringement of her right to a fair trial, in 2019.

Ms Karua filed the case in the regional court after the Supreme Court dismissed her 2017 petition, challenging the election of Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru.