SECTIONS

CJ Martha Koome says Judiciary to protect devolution and achievements

Chief Justice Martha Koome during the launch of Kenya National Action Plan Against Hate speech by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Upper Hill, Nairobi on June 15, 2022.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome says that the Supreme Court is committed to protecting devolution and the gains made through the devolved system.

Koome said that the highest court was keen to serve and defend fundamental elements of the constitutional order from being altered or destroyed.

The CJ told senators who are attending an induction workshop at Sawela Lodge in Naivasha, Nakuru that the courts had been the foremost defenders of devolution, and when it had been threatened, the courts came to its defence.

The CJ spoke to the senators via a video link.

Koome identified several rulings that the Supreme Court had made in the last couple of years while defending devolution.

She revisited the May 2020 ruling on recurrent failure between the Senate and the National Assembly to agree on a Division of Revenue Bill.  

“The court directed that funds equivalent to 50 percent of the previous year’s allocation should be disbursed to the counties despite the commencement of a new financial year,” she said.

Other cases that she identified include ruling that the Senate had a clear role to play in the processing of the Division of Revenue Bill and the CDF case of 2022.

“These decisions by the Supreme Court are developing rich indigenous jurisprudence that has protected the spirit of devolution,” she said.

During the workshop, Attorney General Paul Kihara decried the infighting between the Senate and National Assembly noting it was affecting the spirit of devolution.

In a speech read on the AG's behalf by Commissioner Caroline Saroni, he noted that the impasse was affecting the enactment of various laws leading to protracted court battles.

“We have seen differences between the two houses when it came to various issues like the Division of Revenue Bill and Counties in discharging their duties,” he said.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika called on the incoming House to address the emerging challenges as they were a threat to the authority of the Senate.

The former senator called on the Senate to consider the possibility of constitutional changes aimed at granting it exclusive powers over the counties.