High Court declines to stop Parliament from holding special sitting

Perhaps unaware that Parliament had already passed the amendments to the disputed law, the judge said “the court cannot foretell whether they will in fact see the light of day”.

Cord sued the National Assembly, which was not represented in court, and the Attorney-General.

The High Court on Thursday declined to stop the National Assembly from holding a special sitting to amend an election law, two hours after Parliament had passed them.

High Court Judge George Odunga ruled that he could not issue an order stopping Parliamentary proceedings but said if Cord tables material to warrant this, he would scrutinise the process to see if the National Assembly complied with the law.

“I have considered the positions adopted by the various parties and I do not see what can bar this court from reversing the decisions taken by Parliament if they are illegal,” Justice Odunga said.

“At this stage I do not find any compelling reason why Parliament ought to be stopped from proceeding with the debate, thereafter, depending on what it decides this court will be at liberty to scrutinise its process,” Justice Odunga ruled.

Cord accuses the National Assembly of publishing a gazette notice that convened two special sittings after working hours and early morning on Thursday.

Through Siaya Senator James Orengo, the coalition argued that the decision was reached without public participation and was contrary to the National Assembly’s standing orders.

It alleged that the amendments sought are not urgent and exceptional.

It also claimed the amendments will change the electoral reforms that are in place.

But the Attorney-General argued that the National Assembly did not violate the law.

As soon as Justice Odunga delivered his verdict, opposition leaders accused the ruling Jubilee coalition of playing dirty tricks ahead of the polls.

They, however, expressed confidence they will win the case when it proceeds since the judge had said it was strong.

Earlier in the day, Cord leader Raila Odinga attended the hearing while other opposition members later left Parliament for the Milimani Law Court.

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