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Omtatah Takes President Uhuru to Court over Finance Act, 2019

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Activist Okiya Omtatah now wants the Court to declare Finance Act, 2019, saying that the right procedure was not followed in passing the bill.

According to Omtatah, President Uhuru Kenyatta abused his veto powers outlined in the Constitution Article 115(1)(b), by signing the bill despite having reservations for the Bill.

According to the constitution, “within fourteen days after receipt of a Bill, the President shall assent to the Bill or refer the Bill back to Parliament for reconsideration by Parliament, noting any reservations that the President has concerning the Bill.”

In this incidence, the President signed the Bill into Law despite having reservations in the proposed law, which has since been passed into law.

“The petitioner posits that by so doing, the President engaged in legislation and that breached the separation of powers doctrine, which is entrenched in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010,” he said.

“The petitioner submits that the abuse of the veto powers by the President invalidated the exercise of the same and, effectively, it meant that there was no veto, hence, the original Finance Bill, 2019 presented to him for assent on October 7, 2019 became law at the expiry of 14 days pursuant to 115(1) and (6) of the Constitution,” he argued.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has also been roped in the case, accused of misrepresenting facts, and misapplying the law by declaring that the Presidential reservation was fully accommodated.

Omtatah argues that the fact that Parliament modified the said reservations to limit their application, but not according to the reservations made.

The President had proposed deletion of Clause 45 of the Bill, which related to the capping of interest rates.

The activist also wants the court to issue a declaration that the President has no powers to legislate by making recommendations to Parliament.

Kevin Spahlet

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