By Kevin Rop—
The High Court on Tuesday struck out President Kenyatta’s name in a petition filed by activist Okiya Omtatah seeking to nullify the appointment of Chief Administrative Secretaries. The renown public interest litigation activist had sued the President, the Public Service Commission and the Speaker of the National Assembly over the appointment of Chief Administrative Secretaries and Principals.
While delivering his decision, Justice Chacha Mwita said he had chosen to strike out President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name from Omtatah’s petition for reasons he would give later in the final judgment. The judge, while remaining indifferent himself, appeared to resonate with the position of the Attorney General in the matter.
The Attorney General had argued that the office was competent enough to represent the national government in any civil proceeding. He further claimed that the case would not be prejudiced in any manner if the President’s name is struck out from the proceeding. He further submitted that the President enjoys presidential immunity and that civil proceedings cannot be instituted against the holder of the office during their term.
The position of the Attorney General received legal backing from a youth group who were enjoined in the case as persons of interest. Through their advocate, Danson Mungatana, they argued that under international law, the President, Heads of Government, and Ambassadors enjoy immunity from any criminal and civil proceedings.
Okiya Omtatah, on the other hand, responded that the President could not be allowed to commit impunity and escape responsibility by hiding behind the veil of the doctrine of immunity. He claimed that the appointments to the cabinet were extra-constitutional and that the Public Service Commission did not adhere to the provisions of the Constitution which calls for public participation.