Kenya: Raila Sues Ruto, Govt Over Shakhahola Commission of Inquiry

Exhumation of bodies of victims of cult leader,Paul McKenzie Nthenge at the Shakhahola massacre scene in Kilifi.

Nairobi — Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Leader Raila Odinga has sued President William Ruto for usurping his powers in the formation of the commission of inquiry on the Shakahola cult massacre.

In a petition filed by his lawyer Paul Mwangi, Odinga said that in the constitution of the commission of inquiry, the President usurped the mandate of separate arms of government and constitutional bodies.

"Commission of Inquiry called "Commission of Inquiry Into the Shakahola Tragedy" is an usurpation by the President of the Sovereignty of the People of Kenya by attempting to donate powers duly donated by the Constitution of Kenya to Constitutional Institutions, State Organs and State Officers," the petition read in part.

The Azimio Leader is seeking orders from the court for the commission of inquiry to be declared unconstitutional for infringing on the mandate of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), Inspector General and Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC).

"A DECLARATION that Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1962 (Revised in 2010) be declared unconstitutional. A DECLARATION that Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1962 (Revised in 2010) is in contravention with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 therefore null and void," he said in court papers filed Tuesday.

Odinga stated that the commission of inquiry was undermining the authority of the Senate given that the Senate has already formed an ad-hoc committee on the matter which will be chaired by Tana River Senator Danstan Mungatana.

"The Senate has already formed an ad-hoc committee chaired by Tana River Senator Danstan Mungatana whose mandate is of the same shade and color as the purported commission of inquiry mandate," the petition read.

The Senate committee has 90 days to establish circumstances that led to the deaths of the faithful of Good News International International, which is linked to disgraced Pastor Paul Makenzie.

The committee will also investigate the role played by Makenzie, his pastoral team, and the Kilifi County security committee in aiding and abetting the deaths of the church's followers.

It is set to start its public hearings on Wednesday, this week, with a date with the Interior CS Kithure Kindiki, Attorney General Justin Muturi and the Registrar of Societies in the Office of the Attorney General.

The commission of inquiry which is set to be sworn in today will be chaired by Court of Appeal judge, Justice Jessie Lesit and its mandate will be to inquire into the deaths, torture, and inhumane and degrading treatment of members and individuals linked to Pastor Paul Mackenzie-led Good News International Church in Malindi, Kilifi County.

The commissioners are Justice (Rtd) Mary Kasango, Frank Njenga (psychiatrist), Eric Gumbo, Bishop Catherine Mutua, Jonathan Lodompui, Wanyama Musiambu, and Albert Musasia.

Commission joint secretaries will be Oliver Karori and Rachel Maina with Senior Counsel Kioko Kilukumi appointed as lead counsel to be assisted by Vivian Nyambeki and Bahati Mwamuye.

According to the gazette notice, the Commission of Inquiry will prepare a report and submit its recommendation to President Ruto within six months.

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