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COTU fails in bid to kick out parliamentary nominees

24 March 2014, 22:04 William Korir

Nairobi - The High Court has dismissed a plea by the Central Organization of Trade Unions COTU seeking to have nominees to the 10th parliament by political parties removed.

The High Court yesterday dismissed Central Organization Trade Union (COTU) case challenging the list of nominees to the National Assembly as prepared by seven political parties.

Justice Isaac Lenaola ruled that COTU moved to court in a misguided manner and would not even benefit from the outcome of the suit even if their arguments were upheld in the case.

“I have anxiously considered the position of members of the Senate and National Assembly nominated, already gazetted and became members of the respective houses of Parliament, in the circumstances, I am constrained to decline any orders affecting the duly gazetted members of the National Assembly and Senate,” said Justice Isaac Lenaola.

COTU had alleged that TNA, ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya, UDP and URP unlawfully prepared in the list of nominees to the National Assembly which was later published by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on March 20 last year.

The trade union had sought a declaration that the party list that consisted of 12 nominated legislatures was a breach to their constitutional obligations. They had also challenged IEBC's decision to gazette nominees to the National Assembly as unconstitutional.

COTU wanted the gazetted list be declared unconstitutional.

Ford Kenya had raised objections to the suit filed on March 7 last year against the IEBC and the seven political parties saying that court had no jurisdiction to handle the matter.

Ford Kenya argued that COTU sidestepped Section 74 of the Elections Act 2011 by not even attempting to appear before the IEBC’s dispute tribunal as well as the Political Parties Act in suing them after the required 28 days of the parties list’s publication.

Ford Kenya also told COTU to bark off since it is not a member of any political party.

COTU had wanted to amend the petition following the harsh objection from Ford Kenya however the judge directed the case be argued and heard as it were.

The judge however suggested that if COTU arguments were upheld they would go ahead to amend the petition which in the end denied them the chance in his ruling.

According to Regulation 56 of the Elections Act, nominated Members of the National Assembly are required to be nominated by parliamentary political parties long before the General Elections and then a Party list is forwarded to IEBC.

The Attorney General also sued in the suit supported the objection but categorically argued that the Political Parties Tribunal was the right forum to challenge the alleged failure of a political party to nominate “workers” to its party list.

Justice Lenaola ruled that since the period for filing an election petition has already passed the suit is a misguided way of challenging an issue of great importance to the constitution.


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