From: ouko joachim omolo
Colleagues Home & Abroad Regional News


Today is Friday January 13, 2012, the day which superstition holds to be a day of bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. This year Friday the 13th occurs 3 times-January 13, April 13 and July 13. The year 2013 it occurs 2 times- Friday September 13 and Friday December 13. The year 2014 it occurs on Friday June 13.

While many parties, some with themes similar to Halloween, are celebrated on Friday 13 around the world, whereas some charities and fundraising organizations use Friday 13 to hold functions and events to help raise funds for their causes, In Kenya where the High Court is set to rule on the date of the General Election today, no one can tell exactly whose good or bad luck it will be.

High Court Judges Isaac Lenaola, David Majanja and Mumbi Ngugi are scheduled to deliver their ruling any moment from now. It is not clear whose good luck it would be, whether President Mwai Kibaki and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo who want it be done in December or Nairobi lawyer Mugambi Imanyara who wants it in August as per constitution.

For Kilome MP Harun Mwau, the election should be next year (2013), citing Section 9 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which states that elections should be held within 60 days (two months) after the expiry of the term of the current Parliament.

Mwau wants it early next year, arguing that he was sworn-in as MP on January 15, 2008, and his term should end on January 14, next year. If it is ruled in favour of lawyer Imanyara that the elections could only be held on the second Tuesday in August of every fifth year in accordance with Article 101 of the Constitution, which means August 14, then Friday January 13 would have worked on his favour.

Like Imanyara, lawyer Nelson Havi argues that only a referendum can change the date. It would mean that should the High Court judges rule for December in favour of Kibaki and Kilonzo, their decision could still be challenged.

In Parliament, a Bill was tabled by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo in November last year to amend the Constitution and push the election date from August of every fifth year to a date in December.

For Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, Friday January 13 is very crucial. Already Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has concluded that there is no enough evidence to prosecute her on gun charges.

In view of the evidence submitted by the police, Tobiko found gaps, inconsistencies and contradictions that need to be addressed. Tobiko argues that crucial witnesses had not recorded statements to corroborate claims against Baraza.

Baraza is accused of assaulting Ms Rebecca Kerubo, a guard at Nairobi’s Village Market mall. Kerubo alleges that Baraza threatening to shoot her when she demanded as per security regulations that anyone who enters the market should be checked.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has been investigating her conduct and will make its findings known any time today, whether in her favour or Kerubo’s favour-it is only Friday January 13 to determine.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has assured the public that the incident involving Baraza and Kerubo be thoroughly investigated to get to the truth of the matter. The police want to be very objective.

Under Article 172(c) of the Constitution, the JSC can only investigate and discipline registrars, magistrates, other judicial officers and staff of the Judiciary. While the only provision in the Constitution is for the removal of a judge from office, Article 168(1) of the Constitution provides that a judge may only be removed from office on, among other grounds, a breach of a code of conduct prescribed for judges of the superior courts by an Act of Parliament, or gross misconduct or misbehavior.

In Tanzania Friday January 13 is occurring when large-scale electricity users will have to dig deep into their pockets starting next week, when a sharp rise in electricity tariffs is expected.

The cost of power will go up by up to 40.29 per cent, according to Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) director general Haruna Msebu. Domestic consumers who use up to 50 units a month will not be affected though.

The price hike follows an emergency tariff application from the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco), which has the approval of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.

Tanesco had asked for an increase of 155 per cent, arguing that operational costs had risen due to emergency power plants and extensive use of its own thermal generation plants to address power shortages.

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