Did Uhuru ignore court order during the commissioning of refurbished KMC?


President Uhuru Kenyatta. | PSCU
Joseph Mutua Ndonga mutuandonga@yahoo.com

Worth Noting:

  • The previous attempts by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to revive KMC failed. This is because the officials involved were corrupt, greedy and lacked discipline. So, Uhuru’s move reassign KMC to the military was wise and well-thought-out.
  • During the commissioning, the President reiterated. The Ministry of Defense will run this facility and the livestock farmers with receive payments within twelve hours of delivery. He added; the farmers will be required to prove they own the animals. We do not want to hear the animals stolen are coming here.

A few days ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta opened a refurbished Kenya Meat Commission [KMC] factory in Athi River. This was yet another key milestone of his administration. When he took the instruments of power, he promised to revive and breathe new life to factories that had collapsed during the reigns of his predecessors.

As we know, former President Mwai Kibaki’s efforts to resuscitate the KMC had failed to bore fruits. This is despite the fact a huge amount of tax-payers’ money having been spent.

Before it went down during the Moi regime due to corruption and mismanagement, KMC was topping the list of the profit-making state owned factories.

The pastoralists’ communities, who lost the market for their livestock, bore the greatest brunt. Some of those whose animals had already been taken in incurred huge losses and lived to tell a story.  The management failed to approve and clear pending payments. For them, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention was a God-send and most welcome.

The previous attempts by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to revive KMC failed. This is because the officials involved were corrupt, greedy and lacked discipline. So, Uhuru’s move to reassign KMC to the military was wise and well-thought-out.

During the commissioning, the President reiterated.  The Ministry of Defence will run this facility and the livestock farmers with receive payments within twelve hours of delivery. He added; the farmers will be required to prove they own the animals. We do not want to hear the animals stolen are coming here.

Well, it has not been a walk in the park for the President as he moves to fulfil his promises. Fighting the court cases filed by his critics is one of the key challenges he has been encountering. Mostly, this would delay and disrupt the timelines set out for the commencement and completion of the flagship development projects.

For KMC, the lawyers representing his critics once again trained the gun on him. “There is a court order barring you from opening this facility. If you go ahead, this would amount to violating the constitution”.

Here, they were economical with truth. They knew many Kenyans were ignorant and lacked knowledge on legal matters. So, it is easy to sway some of them to their side.

Allow me to say this. I had followed the proceedings of the case and initially the court had ruled in favor of one of the petitioners’ prayers. The High Court judge only faulted the President for failing to conduct public participation before assigning KMC to Defense.

A few days later, the president, through the office of Attorney General [AG], filed an appeal. The court rendered a favorable ruling, giving the AG and the Ministry of Agriculture 90 days to regularize the move.

When commissioning KMC, the President said he was privy to the court ruling. In apparent reference to remarks by his critics, he stated. What I have done today does not amount to violating the court order. When I appealed, I got some relief. We respect the Judiciary and we will wait for the court to conclude this matter. Given this scenario, the lawyers had no justification to hit at the President.

Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a Social Commentator and Blogger

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