The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Muhuri Tells County Chiefs to Quit Office

A lobby group based in Coast has written to county commissioners demanding that they leave the office. Muslim for Human Rights said it will hold demonstrations in a week in Mombasa if they do not heed the call to quit. "It's our belief that your continued stay in office is against the court order, violates the constitution and perpetuates impunity. Your refusal to leave office further jeopardises your standing as leaders under chapter six of the constitution," said Muhuri executive director Hussen Khalid. "We are giving you a one-week ultimatum upon which we shall mobilise all the civil societies in the region to evict or block you from entering the offices you are purporting to hold."

Kilifi county commissioner Maalim Mohamed has, however, warned that anyone planning to picket or demonstrate due to their stay in office will be met by full force of the law. Maalim said county commissioners are civil servants and deserve respect. He said they took office following instructions of the authorities that appointed them. "Muhuri or civil societies are not agents of the court. They should only follow the due process and no one should threaten us to leave office. We shall deem that as incitement," Maalim said on the phone. "We deserve respect and nobody should hull us around like politicians, some of us have served in the civil society for more than 18 years. But I am yet to receive the letter."

On June 29, High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi overturned the appointment of the 47 commissioners. But until yesterday, the commissioners were still occupying their offices. Muhuri wrote the letter to Maalim, Nelson Marwa of Momba, Rashid Khator of Taita Taveta and Joseph Rotich of Tana River. Others are Stephen Ikua of Lamu and Evans Achoki of Kwale. The letter was also copied to the Office of the President and Coast PC Antony kilele.

On his part, Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa could not speak to the star as he was in the hospital for medication. Imenti South MP Gitobu Imanyara said the commissioners must comply with the High Court order. "Any one of them performing any public duty as commissioner is in contempt of court and liable to punishment, including imprisonment," he said.

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