Posted by ROB JILLO on May 30, 2011
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Political activist Ndung’u Wainana has moved to the High Court seeking to block Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta from reading the Budget on June 8.
He wants the court to enforce the order until Parliament has had enough time to contribute to the proposed budgetary estimates. Mr Wainaina has sued Mr Kenyatta alongside the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Attorney General for contravening the Constitution by failing to submit to the National Assembly estimates of Revenue and Expenditure as required by the Constitution two months to the end of the current Financial Year.
Mr Wainana says failure by Mr Kenyatta to submit the Estimates has denied him his constitutional rights to contribute to the process of budget making. The Executive Director of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict is also seeking for orders to compel Mr Kenyatta to immediately submit budgetary estimates for the financial year commencing July 2011 to the National Assembly.
Chapter Five, Article 22, of the Constitution indicates that the Finance Ministry should submit the estimates two months before the actual budget reading. Last week the Charles Nyachae-led Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution said the responsibility to correct the delayed submission of budgetary estimates lies squarely with the Finance Minister and it is up to him to provide a way forward on the matter.
Over the weekend two MPs defended the Finance Minister saying he was acting within his powers and that the country is still operating under the transition clause of the Constitution. Regional Development Assistant Minister Katoo Ole Metito and his Local Government colleague Lewis Nguyai argued that the country was in transition and that The Treasury had acted in good faith throughout the process and therefore should not be blamed for skipping a deadline.
Addressing the matter on Friday in Maragua, Mr Kenyatta said that he would present the estimates this week for scrutiny. “Some of the processes are still being worked on, some of them we are learning, but that should not stop the country from moving on, we will table the estimates, because we want to present the right thing and read the Budget next month,” Mr Kenyatta had said.
Mr Kenyatta in his defence over the delay says the country should understand that the Constitution implementation is a gradual process and estimates were not ready on time, adding it will be done in subsequent budgets. He also said that the June 8 date was reached after consultation with other East African Community members.