African Press International (API)

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Kenyatta broke the law, says experts

Posted by African Press International on September 16, 2007

By Sunday Standard Team

Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Uhuru Kenyattas decision to back President Kibakis re-election bid has attracted strong criticism, with legal experts terming it a violation of the Constitution.

Kanu nominated MP, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, while predicting legal complications, said: “This has never happened anywhere in the world.”

The shadow Attorney-General said the Gatundu South MPs move had technically reverted the country to a single party status.

But Uhuru, who was campaigning for Kibaki in Mwatate constituency, told off critics for demanding his resignation.

Uhuru said his decision to back the President was aimed at ensuring that his party benefited from positions in the next Government.

Speaking at Kishamba Dispensary, in the company of Mwatate MP, Major (rtd) Marsden Madoka, Uhuru turned the heat on his Kanu colleagues who had joined ODM and ODM-Kenya, yet they were asking him to resign. He termed them political warlords out to divide the country.

But lamenting that the countrys official opposition was dead, Mutula said: “You cannot be the Official Leader of the Opposition when you declare support for a sitting President.”

LSK to sue

By openly declaring support for a sitting Government, said Mutula in Mbooni, Uhuru had abdicated his seat.

Political analysts said the move mirrored Kadus defection to Kanu in 1966.

Kadu, the then Official Opposition party led by former President Moi and the late Ronald Ngala among others, handed Uhurus father, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the one-party mantle.

The landmark move led to successive political developments in the country that culminated in the 1982 amendment of the Constitution, making Kenya a one party State.

But even as Uhuru puts on a brave face, political pundits say the Kanu chairman can only flourish if Kibaki is re-elected in the General Election.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Kenya has said it will push for constitutional amendments to bar Uhuru from supporting the Government.

“This will ensure the leader of the Official Opposition remains in the Opposition and does not support the incumbent,” LSK chairman, Mr Okongo Omogeni said.

The East African Law Society also declared Uhurus move illegal.

The society chairman, Mr Tom Ojienda, said the move undermined the provisions of Section 2(a) of the Constitution that provides for multiparty democracy.

By supporting the Government, said Ojienda, Uhuru had violated the Constitution.

Kanu Vice-chairman, Mr Chris Okemo said Uhurus move was the biggest blow to the opposition, and threatened to leave the party.

“Kanu will soon cease to exist, and I have no business being a member of such an outfit,” said Okemo.

Kanu Secretary-General, Mr William Ruto, termed his chairmans decision as individual, and insisted that it would not change the partys position.

“The move was individual and meant to serve self interests,” Ruto said.

But even as the opposition poured cold water on Uhurus move, Kibakis allies were showering the Gatundu South MP with praises.

Ford-Kenya Chairman, Mr Musikari Kombo, dismissed Uhurus critics saying his party welcomed the move.

In Kericho, the Professionals for a Working Kenya, led by Mr Moses Kuria, termed Uhurus decision as wise and a welcome development.

“Uhuru has exhibited maturity by sacrificing his ambition in favour of Kibaki, who stands higher chances of re-election,” Kuria said.

The Kenya Minority Rights and Development Forum said it was disappointed by Uhuru.

The organisations secretary-general, Mr Ibrahim Woche, said: “Uhurus decision to quit the presidential race is an insult to multi-party democracy.”

Reports by Patrick Beja, Peter Atsiaya, Lucianne Limo, Daniel Nzia, Beatrice Obwocha, Vitalis Kimutai, Anderson Ojuang and Caroline Bett.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN tel +47 932 99739 or +47 63002525

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