Ekuru Aukot when he presented Punguza Mizigo Bill before the Elgeyo Marakwet County. (Kevin Tunoi, Standard) Court has cleared the 47 county assemblies to debate Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mzigo Bill 2019. High Court Judge John Mativo on Tuesday dismissed an application by David Ngari and Timothy Odhiambo after they failed to appear in court for the hearing of the petition.“Orders issued to stop deliberations on the Punguza Mizigo Initiative Bill is hereby lifted,” ruled judge Mativo.The two had filed a suit at the High Court in Milimani, Nairobi, challenging Third way Alliance’s Punguza Mizigo referendum Bill.They had asked the court to stop the consideration of the Bill by all the 47 county assemblies after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) forwarded it to the devolved legislative assemblies.The petitioners argued that IEBC failed to authenticate signatures of voters supporting the referendum bid.IEBC had said 1.2 million registered voters supported the initiative by the Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance Party.Ngari had accused the IEBC of contravening Article 257 of the Constitution by failing to authenticate the signatures of 1,222,541 registered voters who supported the initiative.“The admitted failure to authenticate the signatures of the purported supporters of the initiative amounts to a fundamental breach of the Constitution,” Ngari stated.“There is a real and imminent risk that IEBC may submit an unlawful Bill to the county assemblies within the next three months for consideration,” the petitioner added.He wants results of the verification quashed, and IEBC prohibited from forwarding the Bill to county assemblies for consideration.He also faulted Thirdway Alliance for publishing the list of individuals who support the Bill on its website without notifying members of the public.On August 1, 2019, court had stopped counties from debating Punzuga Mizigo Bill for two weeks pending the hearing of the petition filed in court to challenge it.Justice James Makau had also stopped the Dr Ekuru Aukot-led party from presenting proposals to speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi for debate pending determination of two suits challenging the process.“I am satisfied that the applicants have raised valid concerns about the initiative and hereby issue an order stopping the 47 county assemblies from debating or approving the Bill pending determination of the suit,” ruled Makau.The two petitions were separately filed by David Ngari and the International Economic Law Centre while the second was filed by activist Timothy Odhiambo.They were supposed to be consolidated on Tuesday but the applications were dismissed.
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