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Kenya's Parliament Speaker to Rule on Presidential Appointments

Peter Clottey February 02, 2011

The chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs told VOA Kenneth Marende, the Legislative Speaker, will rule Thursday whether President Mwai Kibaki flouted the new constitution following his recent appointments to four key government positions.

Abuba Namwamba also condemned alleged threats from pro-Kibaki supporters aimed at intimidating the Speaker to rule in favor of Kenya’s leader.

“These nominations have caused a lot of public interest and there has been so much talk. So, today, the people do expect that the Speaker, like he has done recently, will provide some light in this whole scenario that just seems so uncertain,” he said.

Local media reported that Mr. Marende was threatened with impeachment if he rules that President Kibaki overstepped his boundaries under the new constitution.

Following the alleged threat to Mr. Marende, a group of lawyers was quoted as saying, “We have been informed that the Speaker has been threatened with impeachment should his ruling not be in accordance with the expectations of one side of the political divide.”

Namwamba condemned as unacceptable the alleged threats to the Speaker.

“If anything like that has happened or is planned, then it will be despicable; it will be an affront to democracy; it will be an affront to our new constitutional dispensation; and, it must be resisted at any cost,” said Namwamba.

“For anybody to threaten or to intimidate the Speaker or parliament as an institution will be unacceptable and it is something which certainly many of us would resist in the strongest way possible.”

Opponents say Mr. Kibaki “illegally” appointed four people to the positions of Chief Justice, Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as the Controller of Budget without due process.

Namwamba said Kenyans have expressed concerns over Mr. Kibaki’s appointments.

“There is widespread concern but, again, you need to know that political decisions in this country can be quite sharp. So, there are those who may agree with the president. But, many ordinary Kenyans certainly are not happy. Many Kenyans would want to see fidelity to the new constitution,” said Namwamba.

“We want to know the constitutional validity of those nominations. The big question that we are all waiting to be answered is, ‘Has the president acted within the law?’ If the president has acted within the law, then there is absolutely nothing to be afraid off. But, if he has overstepped his mandate, he has acted outside the constitution then, certainly, the president must be stopped at whatever cost.”

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