The chief executive officer of the Council of Legal Education (CLE) Kulundu Bitonye has defied President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua’s letter to vacate office.
Bitonye accuses Kinyua of being ignorant of the Constitution. In a two-page letter addressed to the chief of staff, Bitonye maintains he cannot exit office even after Parliament made amendments to the CLE constitution, which reduces his term from four years to three.
Get exclusive access to the groundbreaking story of Ms. Faith Odhiambo’s historic presidency at LSK in our Latest Edition of Nairobi Law Monthly MagazineDownload Latest Edition Now For Ksh 150!
Kinyua had in February written to the board reminding them of the new amendment that had capped the tenure of CLE board to three year, meaning the current board’s tenure was to end in February. However, the CLE board has disregarded these orders and continued to stay in office.
Ironically, Government’s Chief legal advisor Attorney-General Githu Muigai is a member of the board, and their refusal to vacate office portrays an ugly side of the relationship between State Counsel and State House. As council member, Githu ought to have been aware of the contents of the letter and intervened to avoid such an ugly confrontation.
In February this year, Kinyua wrote: “By the way of this letter you are hereby notified that pursuant to Section 4 of the Legal Education as duly amended vide Act. No. 18 of 2004, the tenure of the current Council is capped to three years from the previous four years. The new board shall be reconstituted in due course.”
In his response, Bitonye said: “…We would be grateful to receive your confirmation as to whether your understanding of the law in this respect is to the contrary to enable council take all appropriate steps.”
In another letter sent to Bitonye by State House through Deputy Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita last week, which the Nairobi Law Monthly has seen, the earlier position that CLE stands disbanded was reiterated.
“…We wish to reiterate that the intention of parliament through the amendments to the Council of Legal Education Act was very clear. Parliament intended that the tenure of the members of the board of the council be reduced from four years to three years; starting with the council in place at the time of the enactment of the amendment.”
Last month, the High Court in its ruling declared the council illegally constituted and ordered for it to be reconstituted within 60 days. However, CLE, during its council meeting on April 20, resolved to appeal the ruling and seek stay orders on Kinyua’s directive.