A petitioner who moved to court to challenge a section of the electoral law requiring public servants eyeing political seats to resign from office has scored his first victory after a judge ruled that the matter will proceed to full hearing.
Kericho Labour and Employment Relations Court Judge Njagi Marete dismissed arguments by lawyers representing the Public Service Commission (PSC), Attorney General Githu Muigai, State House Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
“I find that this court has jurisdiction over the matter by the virtue of the provisions of Articles 22 and 23 which empower this court to deal with matters attacking fundamental rights. I hereby dismiss the application,” said Justice Marete.
The hearing of the case will start on February 17.
The Judge directed the petitioner’s lawyer Simiyu Murambi to file his written submissions and serve all the respondents within eight days.
He further ordered the respondents to file written responses before court within four days of receipt of the submissions.
Senior State Counsels Charles Mutinda and Janet Langat had argued that the Labour court lacked jurisdiction to hear the petition filed Mr Eric Cheruiyot.
But Mr Cheruiyot’s counsel Simiyu Murambi dismissed the argument, saying the law under had granted every Kenyans the right to move to court and file a petition if they felt that any part of the Constitution contravened their rights or that of others.
The case will come up for highlighting of submissions from both parties on February 27.
Eric Cheruiyot, a resident of Kipkelion Constituency, filed the petition in court on January 16 claiming that the law requiring a section of public servants to resign from their jobs six months to the General Election was discriminatory in nature.
He said the law had given undue advantage to governors, Senators, Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly (MCAs) by allowing them to stay in office and draw salaries while demanding that the other public servants resign from their jobs.
In his petition, Mr Cheruiyot accused the IEBC, PSC, Attorney General and Head of Public Service of contravening the Constitution
The petitioner wants the court to order that public servants can only leave office to participate in the election after the dissolution of Parliament and the County Assemblies.