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Blow to President Ruto as High Court suspends Finance Act, 2023

In our opinion in the June Issue No. 89, we assessed and commented on the then highly debated Finance Bill 2023, which President Ruto has incessantly been forcing on Kenyans, as substantially unconstitutional and anti-devolution.

Although having been assented into law on 26th June 2023, the implementation of the Finance Act, 2023 has now been temporarily halted by the High Court pending the hearing and determination of its constitutionality.

The conservatory orders issued by the High Court presided over by Hon. Lady Justice Mugure Thande were issued following an application dated 29th June 2023 and filed by Hon. Okiya Omtatah who is currently serving as the Senator for Busia County.

Hon. Okiya Omtatah, a public-spirited individual and a widely acclaimed human rights defender, filed the application on the basis that the Finance Act, 2023 violated preliminary yet mandatory constitutional minimums which must be undertaken before a bill is validly introduced and considered by Parliament.

In allowing the application and granting the conservatory orders, the High Court also issued an interim order of prohibition prohibiting the respondents and interested parties or their agents howsoever acting from giving effect to the Finance Act, 2023.

This ruling, which comes as a relief for many Kenyans and was delivered as we were going to press, goes far to show that in a society governed by the rule of law, such as ours, the Judiciary plays an integral role in intervening and arresting the cascading monumental threats frequently mounted against the Constitution.

We hope that such a judicial decision will go so far as to express the overarching purpose of constitutional integrity and the rule of law in a constitutional democracy. The suit will come up for a mention for directions before the High Court on 5th July 2023.