Blow to state as court quashes Commission of Inquiry into Shakahola Tragedy.

The state suffered a setback after the High Court quashed a gazette notice issued by President William Ruto in May last year, establishing the Commission of Inquiry into the Shakahola Tragedy. Azimio La Umoja had challenged the President’s decision, deeming it illegal.

In a judgment delivered today, Justice Lawrence Mugambi ruled that conferring powers of Independent Constitutional Commissions and Offices to the commission is unconstitutional.

“An order of certiorari is hereby issued quashing the Kenya Gazette No. 5660 made on the 4th May 2023 by the President of the Republic of Kenya,” the court ruled.

Justice Mugambi stated that the President’s action in establishing the commission undermined the powers and authority of independent bodies. He emphasized that the President had no authority to confer specific constitutional mandates to the commission using powers derived from a statute, making the action unconstitutional.

Additionally, the court found that Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, which allows the President unrestricted discretion to appoint a judge and assign tasks to such a judge within the executive branch, does not align with the constitutional principle of separation of powers and threatens judicial independence.

The court declared Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act a relic of the imperial presidency, incompatible with current constitutional values and principles, thus unconstitutional, null, and void.

CH Reporter

CH Reporter

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