Home Courts Uganda Lawyer, Kenya Clash Over Premature Removal of EAC Secretary General

Uganda Lawyer, Kenya Clash Over Premature Removal of EAC Secretary General

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The Attorney General of Kenya has petitioned the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to dismiss the case filed by Ugandan lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi concerning the removal of Dr. Peter Mathuki as the secretary general of the East African Community (EAC). Additionally, they seek an order for Mabirizi to cover the incurred costs.

In March of this year, Mabirizi initiated legal action against the Government of Kenya regarding the premature removal of Dr. Peter Mathuki from his position as EAC secretary general, before the completion of his five-year term.

Mabirizi argues that Mathuki’s removal from office violates the EAC Treaty and therefore constitutes an illegal act.

However, in response to Mabirizi’s lawsuit, Stephen Terrel, a principal state attorney from the chambers of the Attorney General of Kenya, urges the East African Court of Justice to dismiss all requests and declarations made by Mabirizi, alongside demanding costs. Terrel deems Mabirizi’s case as frivolous.

The Attorney General of Kenya asserts that no rights were violated during Mathuki’s recall by President William Ruto.

Referring to Article 132 (2) (e) of the Kenyan Constitution, Terrel explains that the President of Kenya holds the authority to nominate, with approval from the national assembly, appoint, and dismiss high commissioners, ambassadors, diplomatic, and consular representatives.

On March 8 of this year, Mathuki was nominated by Ruto to serve as Kenya’s ambassador to Russia, leading to his replacement by Caroline Mwende Mueke.

The Attorney General of Kenya further argues that Article 6 of the EAC Treaty emphasizes respect for the sovereignty of its member states.

Quoting Regulation 96 (1) (a) of the EAC Staff Rules and Regulations of 2006, it is outlined that a partner state intending to withdraw an executive staff member must provide six months’ written notice to the summit through the council. Additionally, Regulation 96(1)(b) stipulates that the termination of the secretary general should occur upon the recommendation of the summit.

However, the Attorney General of Kenya refutes allegations of overstepping the summit’s role, stating that they had called for an extraordinary meeting of the council to propose Mathuki’s withdrawal and the appointment of a new secretary general, as well as a waiver of the six months’ notice period as provided by Regulation 96 (1) (a) of the EAC Staff Rules and Regulations of 2006.

In his submission to the court, Mabirizi contends that Mathuki’s removal violated the EAC treaty, which mandates a fixed five-year term for the secretary general.

Mabirizi seeks an order from the East African Court of Justice to annul Kenya’s decision to replace Mathuki and demands general, exemplary, and punitive damages. The court is yet to schedule the hearing dates for the case.