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Mabirizi Now Sues Kenya Government over EAC Secretary General’s Recall

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Ugandan lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has sued the government of Kenya over the “illegal” removal of Peter Mathuki as Secretary General of the East African Community.

Mabirizi’s suit against the Attorney General of Kenya and Dr Mathuki at the East African Court of Justice Reference No. 14 of 2024 challenges the recall, saying it “reduces the office of Secretary General to a mere ambassador”.

He reasons that according to Article 67 of the EAC Treaty, a partner state nominates a person to the post of Secretary General and the Secretary General is appointed by the Heads of State Summit (not a president of that one country).

According to him, recalling Mathuki and replacing him with another person, is illegal, because the SG’s term of office is fixed at five years, and can therefore not be terminated by the president of his country. Moreover, he says, the Secretary General is a staff of the Community.

The lawyer also says the East African Legislative Assembly has no powers to impeach the secretary general.

Mabirizi’s court action comes just as the EAC Secretariat came to the defense of Dr Mathuki against allegations of financial mismanagement. 

At the weekend, it was revealed that President William Ruto had appointed Mathuki ambassador to Moscow, an act that was interpreted as a trick trying to save the face of Mathuki and or Kenya, as he was facing impeachment by the regional parliament. 

He is poised to be replaced by Caroline Mwende Mueke, subject to approval by the next Heads of State Summit.. 

Mathuki was accused by East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) members of  spending up to 6 million dollars (23 billion shillings) without appropriation by the regional parliament as per the regulations. 

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The MPs also alleged that Dr Mathuki hired his son and paid him 31,000 dollars (121 million shillings), without going through the laid-down procedure, yet the office was already occupied by a substantive official.

“We wish to state categorically that the allegations…are baseless, malicious, unfounded and an attempt at assassinating the character of the Secretary General of the East African Community,” says a statement from the Communications Department. 

It accuses the media of not seeking the response of the SG or the secretariat before publishing the allegations, adding that none of the checks and balances in place, including the Council of Ministers which is the EAC policy organ, raised any issue about the alleged matters.

“At no point in time has there been any queries raised by the Council of Ministers as to the allegations on lack of appropriation of funds by the Secretariat as the Council always gives prior approval on expenditure of funds of the Community as stipulated in EAC’s Financial Rules and Regulations including what is published in the article,” says the statement. 

The same was said of the Audit Commission which prepares a report on all activities of the Community conducted by all Partner States. 

“Since the Secretary General assumed office three years ago, there has never been any adverse audit reports on his part or the Secretariat and these audit reports remain available at the offices of the Community. The operations and activities of the Community are continually audited to ensure compliance with the laid down standards and procedures.”  

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Arising from the above, the statement says, it is evident that EAC is operating well and on course to achieve what it was established to do.   

“The purported allegations and accusations are therefore false and the EAC remains a focused and formidable Regional Economic Bloc. We would like East Africans and all our stakeholders to remain confident about the status of the Community.”

URN.



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