Majority leader trashes order on housing levy public participation

KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 21 – Majority Leader in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wah has trashed a High Court order putting a stay on a planned public participation on the revised housing levy law.

Ichung’wah on his X account, formerly Twitter, says the order by a Kisumu High Court is unconstitutional.

“Article 118 of the Constitution obligates public participation in law making,” he tweeted.

On Wednesday, High Court Judge Lady Justice Shariff ordered that the planned public participation published in the local dallies by the National Assembly be halted until the application filed by Grassroot Trust is heard by inter-parties.

However, Ichung’wah says, in the world over, no parliament is injucted in its lawmaking mandate affirming that receiving people’s views is unstoppable.

“Judicial and Executive AUTOCRACY has no space in the Parliament of Kenya and this order is UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” he added.

Ichung’wah further noted that the order is an infringement on the rights of Kenyans to give their views in law making.

Responding to the tweet, Dr Paul Ogendi, the lawyer representing the plaintiff says it is a veiled attack aimed at the Judiciary.

“We will soldier on to protect the independence of the courts and the rule of law in the country,” he said.

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He noted that what they are asking for is adequate and effective public participation.

The lobby had listed Attorney General as the 1st respondent, cabinet secretary for lands, public works, housing and urban development as the 2nd respondent and the national assembly as the 3rd respondent.

It argued that the said notice for public participation  is too short and considering the nature of the Bill and its importance to the National Assembly should conduct adequate public participation especially targeting marginalized groups who may not know the content of the proposed Bill,” read part of the petition.

The National Assembly had set 28th December as the deadline to receive memoranda on the Bill.

The petitioner contends that by failing to conduct adequate and effective public participation in relation to the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023, the public will be disadvantaged.

Lady Justice Shariff has directed that the parties appear before court on 27th Dec 2023 for further directions.

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