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Uhuru obeys court, revokes Jemator's nomination to IEBC panel

By Josphat Thiong'o | May 29th 2021

President Uhuru Kenyatta received by his Deputy William Ruto and other leaders for the 18th Kenya National Prayer Breakfast at Parliament building, Nairobi.[DPPS]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has revoked the appointment of Dorothy Jemator to the seven-member IEBC selection panel, as the court ordered.

In a new gazette notice, the president appointed Morris Kimuli in her place and in the process seemingly broke a cycle of instances where his administration has been accused of disregarding court orders.

“I appoint Morris Kimuli to be a member of the selection panel for the selection of nominees for the appointment of members of the IBEC. The appointment of Kimengech Dorothy Jemator is revoked,” Uhuru said in a gazette notice on Wednesday.

Notably, Jemator and Kimuli were nominees of the Law Society of Kenya(LSK) following cracks in the society. A faction led by LSK CEO Mercy Wambua had nominated Jemator while another led by society president Nelson Havi nominated Kimuli.

Justice Odunga, on May 11, however, overturned the appointment of Jemator and ordered National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to instead receive the nomination of Kimuli.

Holding of two offices as a judicial officer and the latest appointment to the selection panel of the BBI steering committee were the issues that Jemator had been accused of. She had been appointed to serve as a member of the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal in 2020, for three years and was also a member of the HIV and AIDS Tribunal.

In the recent past, the government has been accused of not obeying court decisions. In February 2020, the courts ordered the president to appoint 41 judges who would take up various roles in the judicial system but to date it has not happened. Despite the executive maintaining that some of the appointed Judges were of questionable conduct thus the delay in appointments, pressure is mounting on Uhuru to effect the appointments ahead of 2022 elections.

In another instance in February this year, a court ruling stopped the transfer of the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) by the president from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Defence docket but it was not implemented.

In April, the High Court declared the position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) which was introduced by President Kenyatta, unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Mrima also ordered for fresh vetting of 10 Cabinet Secretaries who had been re-appointed by the Head of State after his 2017 re-election.

The court’s decision was however ignored and the CASs continue to operate while the vetting of the re-appointed CSs has not happened.

Moreover, the state proceeded with demolitions in Nairobi’s Kariobangi estate last year, amid the Covid-19 pandemic despite a court order being issued against it.

Then Chief Justice Maraga also accused the executive of contemptuously repulsing court orders issued, demanding for compensation of many Kenyans who fell victim to road accidents after being knocked by government vehicles.

The lack of obedience to court orders has been blamed on a 'cold war' between the Executive and the Judiciary which dates back to the 2017 presidential elections, when the Supreme Court nullified the results over what they termed glaring irregularities.

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