The office of the Attorney General has urged the High court not to suspend some provisions of the National Land Commission Act as it will be usurping the powers of Parliament.
In response to a suit filed by NSE-listed agricultural firm Kakuzi Plc, the AG says the Act of parliament Kakuzi PLC is purporting to challenge is constitutional and has not been declared otherwise.
Kakuzi Kakuzi is challenging Section 15 (3) (b) (i) of the NLC Act, which permits the commission to admit and investigate claims that arose out of legally protected acts at the time the challenged actions happened and section 15 (3) (b) (ii) that allows NLC to investigate time-barred claims. It wants the said sections declared unconstitutional.
But the AG in an affidavit says “Unless the said provisions have been declared unconstitutional, the high court at this stage cannot suspend their applicability without justification. This will be usurping the powers of Parliament without subjecting the said act into a proper and thorough hearing,”
The further states that complaint lodged by Kakuzi Divisions Development Association with the National Land Commission to address the issues of historical land injustice is well within the law.
“What is before the NLC is an inquiry into a historical land injustice which is well within the law. The high court also ought not to readily suspend the provisions of the NLC Act simply because a challenge has been made to it. There is a need to have it determined on merit,” read part of the affidavit.
NLC in response to the suit has accused Kakuzi of merely shopping for a forum and audience to discreetly delay the proceedings before it.
Through its deputy legal director Edmond Gichuru, the commission says they are the only ones with jurisdiction to investigate all historical land injustices complaints and recommend appropriate redress.
“Our action in exercising its constitutional mandate cannot be said to be in breach of the Kakuzi rights. It is clear that NLC has complied with both the provisions of the constitution and the NLC Act,” he says
On August 7, Justice Wilfrida Okwany orders restraining the National Land Commission (NLC) from hearing a petition by a group that is laying claim on Kakuzi’s 39,323-acre piece of land.
Okwany issued the orders pending the hearing of an application by Kakuzi, in which it seeks to declare unconstitutional section 15 (3) (b) (i) and 15 (3) (b) (ii) in the Land Act that gives power to NLC to deal with historical injustices The group, Kakuzi Division Development Association, has 3,684 members.
Section 15 (3) (b) (i) of the NLC Act, permits the commission to admit and investigate claims that arose out of legally protected acts at the time the challenged actions happened and section 15 (3) (b) (ii) that allows NLC to investigate time-barred claims.