Two Kenyan activists fight law blocking ex-presidents from active politics

NAIROBI – Two activists have moved to a Nairobi court seeking to invalidate a law that stops retired presidents from participating in active politics or holding leadership positions in political parties.

Peter Agoro and Damon Onyango want the court to quash Section 6 of the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act, saying it is discriminatory and limits one’s constitutional right to make political choices.

The legal provision being challenged provides that “a retired President shall not hold office in any political party for more than six months after ceasing to hold office as President.” 

The duo want the court to quash the section of the Act, which was passed in 2003 arguing that it contravenes the constitution and is therefore invalid.

“Every person is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law and the implicit or implied limitation under section 6 of the presidential retirement Benefits Act is in contravention of the constitution and is therefore, invalid,” said the petition filed on Thursday at the Milimani Law Courts.

A faction of Jubilee Party kicked out retired President Uhuru Kenyatta as party leader early this week and threatened to expel him from the party for alleged gross misconduct.

The faction led by East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega later named nominated MP Sabina Chege as the acting party leader, pending a national delegates’ convention. 

In the petition, the activists argue that the section of the law contravenes the constitution and is therefore, invalid. 

They say the petition is premised on the guidance of Article 294) of the constitution, which states that, “Any law, including customary law that is inconsistent with this constitution is void to the extent of the inconsistency and any act or omission in contravention of this constitution of this constitution is invalid.” 

Agoro says in an affidavit that Article 38 of the constitution gives every citizen the right to make political choices, including the right to form, participate in the forming of a political party, participate in the activities of a political party, recruit or even campaign for a political party.

“That I am also aware that the bill of rights under the constitution of Kenya provides for sufficient protection against discretion of any kind,” Agoro said. 


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