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Opposition legislators make true their threat, skip Uhuru’s address in Parliament

By Cyrus Ombati and Moses Njagih | September 12th 2017

Supreme Court Judges and Opposition legislators stayed away as President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the joint sitting of the House to mark the start of 12th Parliament Tuesday.

As the President addressed the House Opposition MPs were at a political rally eight kilometres away in Kibera, Nairobi, convened by the Opposition National Super Alliance.

Only Webuye West MP Alfred Sambu (ANC) was in parliament.

Relations between the President and the Judiciary have been frosty after the Supreme Court annulled the August 8 presidential election on the grounds that it was not conducted in accordance with the constitution. A petition against his election had been filed by NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.

After the declaration nullifying his victory, President Uhuru accepted the court’s decision but attacked the judges calling them “wakora” (crooks).

His argument, which was quickly picked by his Jubilee party politicians,  was that the judges had no business overturning the "sovereign will of the people."

A seven-judge bench heard the matter. Two o them, Njoki Ndung’u and Jackton Ojwang dissented. Chief Justice David Maraga, his deputy Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justices Isaac Lenaola and Smokin Wanjala upheld the NASA petition. Justice Mohamed Ibrahim was taken ill midstream the hearing and was not part of the declaration.

Justice Maraga said the court will deliver full verdict in 21 days.

Independently-elected MPs did not stay away from the  presidential function.

 Cabinet Secretaries Najee Balata (Tourism), Eugene Wadalba (Water), Fred Matiang'i (acting, Interior), Henry Rotich (Treasury), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution) among others and several public service heads  attended the parliamentary function.

Anglican Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, who has urged the president to respect the Judiciary, was present as was a number of diplomats.


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