The High Court on Monday, December 4, issued orders blocking President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza government from selling 11 parastatals.
This was after Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) filed a case at the Milimani Law Court, in Nairobi challenging the sale of the 11 parastatals in the country.
As a result, Justice Chacha Mwita issued the orders, suspending the sale, until February 2024 when Raila’s case will be heard and determined by the court.
“Upon considering the pleadings and supporting documents, I am satisfied that the petition raises substantial constitutional and legal issues of public importance that require critical examination and consideration by the court.”
“A conservatory order is hereby issued suspending implementation of Section 21(1) of the Privatisation Act 2023 and or any decisions made pursuant to that section, until 6th February 2024,” Justice Mwita ruled.
Raila had earlier alleged that the government was planning to sell the parastatals to benefit a few persons in the country.
“They are saying that they want to sell to some private individuals but the truth is that they want to benefit themselves. They want to buy these corporations for their benefit,” he claimed.
However, in the court papers, ODM had accused the Kenya Kwanza government of planning to sell Kenya’s sovereignty without public participation.
Lawyer Jackson Awele who was representing ODM, told the court that the parastatals earmarked for sale are strategic security institutions, meaning their sale will make private individuals to control the country.
For instance, Waele cited Kenya Seed Company, Kenya Literature Bureau, and Kenya Pipeline Company as institutions that play a key role in the country’s economy.
“Further, public assets such as the Kenya Literature Bureau, Kenya Seed Company and the Kenya Pipeline Company are strategic installations central to Kenya’s national security.
“Their sale accordingly elicits national security concerns that directly threaten the sovereignty of the people and the Republic of Kenya,” stated Awele.
In addition, the ODM lawyer faulted the National Assembly for amending the Privatisation Act, of 2005, to allow the Executive to privatise parastatals without the approval of Parliament.
He blamed members of parliament (MPs) over their alleged failures in their oversight duty by allowing the executive to dispose parastatals procedurally.
Meanwhile, President Ruto on October 9, 2023 signed the Privatization Bill 2023 into law, repealing the Privatization Act of 2005 and introducing sections that allow the executive powers to order disposal of government assets.
Other parastatals advertised for sale include Kenyatta International Convention Centre, National Oil Corporation, Mwea Rice Mills, Western Kenya Rice Mills Limited, New Kenya Cooperative Creameries, Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Limited, Rivatex East Africa Limited and Numerical Machining Complex.