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Court of Appeal gives Huduma Namba lifeline

By Kamau Muthoni | July 27th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta display their Huduma Namba cards.[PSCU,Standard]

You can now keep your Huduma Namba and access the National Government Constituency Fund (NGCDF), but only until November 5.

This lifeline was given by Court of  Appeal yesterday and stems from two pieces of legislation, which are part of the 23 that were bastardised by the High Court. The reprieve came two days before lapse of the extension given by the High Court nine months ago.

After the High Court declared 23 laws that included Huduma Namba, Cybercrimes law, and NGCDF, it allowed the two Houses to consult and validate them before July 29, 2021.

After a spirited plea by National Assembly lawyers Paul Muite and Issa Mansur, Court of Appeal judges Agnes Murgor, Jessie Lesiit, and Pauline Nyamweya ordered that the laws should remain effective until November 5.

This is the date the judges will decide whether to affirm or set aside the High Court’s verdict.

The Senate was opposed to the court granting the orders. It argued that even after the lower court asked National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Ken Lusaka to consult, the former never made any effort.

The Senate’s lawyer Mutula Kilonzo Jnr argued that the court seems to be giving the National Assembly leeway to continue sidelining the upper House when coming up with laws.

“In February this year, after filing the same issue, this court ruled that the two speakers should consult. I can confirm here the speaker of the National Assembly has made no effort. Status quo means that they will continue violating the Constitution. For the avoidance of doubt, the finance Bills have been overtaken by events and therefore there is no threat,” Mutula argued.

The sibling rivalry between the Senate and National Assembly played out before the Court of Appeal in the two-hour hearing on the validity of 23 laws declared unconstitutional by the High Court.

On one hand, the Senate accused National Assembly of defiance and belittling the authority of courts while the latter claimed that the upper House was seeking to encroach on its legislative role.

The Senate’s other lawyers James Orengo and Okong’o Omogeni argued that National Assembly had been treating the upper House as a bystander. The two asserted that the Constitution envisages the law-making process to involve concurrence by both speakers.

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