LSK terms as unconstitutional the proposed amendments to the constitution by President William Ruto

The Law Society of Kenya is up in arms with President William Ruto’s plan to what LSK terms attempts to amend the constitution, without following the proper procedure of a referendum.

In a statement, LSK President Eric Theuri has cited a memorandum by the president to parliament, dated 9th December, the president proposed   amendments to the constitution by proposing the creation of the office of the official opposition, to establish a formula that will guide the computation of the gender ratio in the national assembly and the enactment of various funds among the National government constituency development fund , the senate oversight fund and the national government affirmative action fund.

The memorandum also called for the amendment of the parliamentary standing orders to facilitate the participation of cabinet secretaries and chief administrative secretaries in parliamentary proceedings.

LSK says this move will disrupt the structure of the executive and parliament, adding that the president proposed that the amendments be pursued without taking Kenyans through a referendum, a violation of the law.

“Article 255 is very clear on the means of amending the constitution”, says Theuri in the statement”, “If any amendments touch on national values, and principles of governance, then it must go through a referendum”, says Eric in the statement. 

The Law Society of Kenya now wants the parliament to rise up and protect the constitution and further has called on Speaker Moses Wetangula to note that the amendments are being proposed by the president and therefore contrary to the findings in the BBI case, and hence null and void. 

LSK has further called on parliament to note that the appointment of Cabinet Administrative Secretaries is currently in court, where LSK has enforced orders preventing the establishment of this office.

LSK has further drawn the attention of the speaker to the fact that the president flouted the law on gender while appointing principal secretaries, and any amendments proposals touching on gender should first be to ensure that the composition of the PSs is done properly.

“it is the position of the LSK that there are more pressing matter facing the country among then draught in various parts of the country and hence, the president should be focusing on such matters” adds Theuri.

We have a system of government that is largely presidential, and the president comes from the coalition that forms the majority and there is another coalition that forms the minority. That is the structure that we picked for this country. You cannot therefore introduce the leader of the opposition. That amendment in itself does not conform to the current constitutional structure that we have. It should not even be discussed in Parliament.”

Last week the president called for an empowered opposition, saying it will be instrumental in ensuring the accountability of the government. 

President Ruto however called for a peaceful manner in which this is done, without disrupting the country. He said that empowering the opposition would bring much-needed transformation to the country, which will be achieved by accommodating the opposition.

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Nasra Nanda

Nasra Nanda

Nasra Nanda is a Senior Associate in Dentons Hamilton Harrison and Matthews, a leading law firm in Kenya.

Gregor Pannike

Gregor Pannike

Gregor Pannike is the founder and managing director of Agema Analysts.

Liz Lenjo

Liz Lenjo

Liz Lenjo is the Founder and Managing Consultant of MyIP Legal Studio.

Angela Kioi

Angela Kioi

Angela Kioi is a legal compliance expert, negotiator and ADR practitioner.



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