Kenya: Punguza Mizingo Bill Cleared for Debate in Counties as Court Lifts Gag Order

13 August 2019

Nairobi — The Human Rights and Constitutional Division of the High Court in Nairobi on Tuesday lifted an order barring County Assemblies from debating the Punguza Mizingo Bill.

Justice John Mativo lifted the restraining order issued after a petitioner on July 25 moved to court to stop the consideration of the Bill by the 47 county assemblies after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) forwarded it to the devolved legislative assemblies.

Timothy Odhiambo had argued that IEBC failed to authenticate signatures of voters supporting the referendum bid.

IEBC had said 1.2 million registered voters supported the initiative by the Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance party.

Odhiambo accused the IEBC of contravening Article 257 of the Constitution by failing to authenticate the signatures of 1,222,541 registered voters who supported the initiative.

"The admitted failure to authenticate the signatures of the purported supporters of the initiative amounts to a fundamental breach of the Constitution," Odhiambo stated.

"There is a real and imminent risk that IEBC may submit an unlawful Bill to the County Assemblies within the next three months for consideration," the petitioner added.

Odhiambo sought the cancelation of the signature verification exercise and IEBC prohibited from forwarding the Bill for consideration by county assemblies.

He also faulted Thirdway Alliance for publishing the list of individuals who support the Bill on its website without notifying members of the public.

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