Court suspends orders barring State from advertising its achievements

Court temporarily suspended orders outlawing the campaign. Photo:Courtesy
The Government is free to continue advertising its achievements under the banner 'Government Delivers'.

This was after the Court of Appeal temporarily suspended orders outlawing the campaign.

Court of Appeal judges Phillip Waki, Gatembu Kairu and Kathurima M’inoti lifted last year's High Court orders, noting they were vague.

They found that High Court judge Chacha Mwita was not clear on whether he had completely barred the Government from advertising its achievements or if his orders were only meant for the electioneering period.

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“Having carefully considered the application, the decree of the High Court is, prima facie (on the face of it), not clear whether it is restricted only to an election period, which is now past, or applies to all times,” the judges ruled.

They said the appeal filed against lawyer Apollo Mboya might be rendered useless if the Government delivery portal was completely disabled or when employees of the office of the President were charged in court for using the portal outside the election period.

However, those employees are not yet out of the woods as the court ruled its orders did not stop the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from initiating charges against them in relation to adverts allegedly run during last year's polls.

The portal was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 10 last year. Mr Mboya went to court two months later, complaining that the advertisements were intended to unduly influence voters in favour of the ruling party, Jubilee.

During the hearing, Attorney General Githu Muigai claimed the advertisements were intended to ensure that the Government was transparent and accountable.

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He said the purpose of the portal was also to publish and publicise important information affecting the nation that citizens could access.

“The learned judge erred by holding that the portal was a source of advertisement rather than a platform for accountability and provision of information to the public as required by the Constitution,” the AG argued.

INVESTIGATIVE POWERS

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which was also cited as a party to the case, argued that the case was misconceived as it had no investigative powers. The commission also said Mr Mboya had not raised any complaints relating to the portal.

On the other hand, the DPP argued that the former Law Society of Kenya chief executive officer had not filed a complaint with the police for the investigations to commence.

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“No investigation report had been submitted to enable me decide whether or not to undertake a prosecution for alleged election offences. Under the Election Offences Act, I had 12 months to prosecute alleged election offences thus the petition was premature and misconceived," said the DPP

Stateadvertising'Government Delivers'