Members of Parliament and Members of County Assembly will soon enjoy immunity against court action if the Senate approves a Bill passed by the National Assembly yesterday and President Uhuru Kenyatta signs it into law.
MPs approved the Bill seeking to stop the Judiciary from interfering with Parliament and the 47 County Assemblies in the course of their work.
It effectively stops Kenyans from going to the courts to challenge the actions of Parliament and County Assemblies, even when they are considered to infringe on citizens’ rights.
Kenyans have previously sought court intervention when MPs wanted to increase their allowances or violate freedom of expression, including attempts to gag the media.
The Bill, sponsored by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma (ODM), seeks to change the Constitution and stop the courts from issuing injunctions against matters before Parliament.
It was strategically placed before the vote on the other Bill to change the Constitution to implement the gender principle, which was defeated but the Speaker allowed a second vote to be taken next Thursday.
The immunity would extend to County Assemblies and their committees, which Mr Kaluma argued was in line with international practice, where courts only intervene after a matter has been passed by Parliament.
“Indeed, it is only in Kenya where this sorry state of judicial curtailment of parliamentary functions exists,” he said.