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Activists challenge Uhuru's cabinet over violation of Kenya's gender laws

Activists challenge Uhuru's cabinet over violation of Kenya's gender laws

Kenya

A group of activists has gone to court seeking to have President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new cabinet declared unconstitutional.

They are seeking to have it declared unlawful for not adhering to the two-third gender rule.

The Attorney-General, Secretary to the Cabinet and National Assembly are listed as first, second and third respondents in the lawsuit filed by the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness led activists.

A declaration that the nomination by the President and approval by the National Assembly of persons for the Cabinet Secretaries’ positions was done in contravention of the principal of rule of law and good governance in total disregard of Article 27 on equality and equal opportunities.

Out of the 23 cabinet secretaries that Kenyatta picked for his second term, 17( 73.9 percent) are men, women are six.

The petitioners are further seeking a declaration that the National Assembly approved the Cabinet nominees in an unconstitutional way.

“A declaration that the nomination by the President and approval by the National Assembly of persons for the Cabinet Secretaries’ positions was done in contravention of the principal of rule of law and good governance in total disregard of Article 27 on equality and equal opportunities including the requirement that an appointive body should not have more than two-thirds of persons of the same gender,” reads a court document filed the group.

In addition to that:

  • They are also seeking an order that any Cabinet directives or those made by individual Cabinet secretaries declared a nullity in law and of no legal effect.
  • They want the secretary to the Cabinet be barred from paying salaries, benefits or emoluments to the Cabinet secretaries and that he or his agents or any public servants barred from undertaking any Cabinet directive or communicate to other State agencies.
  • Among the prayers that they are seeking include that President Kenyatta be found to have violated Justice Joseph Onguto’s orders in 2016 that his new Cabinet after the August 8 election should meet the two-third gender rule constitutional requirement.
  • They also asking the High Court to find that Mr Kenyatta failed to constitute a fresh Cabinet in adherence to Justice Onguto’s order and that the National Assembly approved unconstitutional Cabinet nominees.
  • They also want the court to declare that Justice Kihara Kariuki’s nomination to the Attorney-General’s position was unconstitutional and in contravention of the principle of rule of law and good governance.

In December 2016, Justice Joseph Onguto declared that President Uhuru Kenyatta flouted the gender rule principle in the appointment of Cabinet secretaries but suspended his verdict for eight months to avert plunging the country into a crisis.

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