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Court declines to quash controversial election laws

Bernice Mbugua @ BerniceMuhindi

Controversial election laws passed in chaotic manner in December 2016 by Members of Parliament will not be quashed, the High Court has ruled. Justice George Odunga, however, declared that the manner in which the parliamentary proceedings were conducted was largely unprocedural and contrary to the law.

In his judgment, he noted that the country went through a General Election last year and the election gave rise to election petitions some of which have been determined using the said laws. “It cannot be ruled out that the impugned provisions could have been applied during the said elections and that some of the petitions may well have been decided in accordance therewith.

To issue orders quashing the said amendments may well be reckless,” he ruled. The judge said the court can neither “turn a blind eye nor block its ears” as to do so has the potential of breeding chaos.

“A court decision should as much as possible and without abetting illegality and unconstitutionality be geared towards the sustaining the social engineering and order in society rather than chaos and disorder,” he said.

Justice Odunga issued the judgement in a case filed by the then Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) which sought to quash the elections amendments used to conduct the general elections.

Cord had argued that the law requires that all political parties be involved in decision-making processes that relate to the proposed amendments that Speakers Justin Muturi and Ekwee Ethuro of the National Assembly and the Senate respectively can only under the law call for such sittings in the event of a state of war or impeachment of the President.

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