Ugandan lawyer Mabirizi sues Kenya for recalling EAC boss Peter Mathuki

Ugandan lawyer Mabirizi sues Kenya for recalling EAC boss Peter Mathuki
Peter Mathuki is the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC).

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Ugandan lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has filed a lawsuit against the Kenyan government, contesting what he deems an “unlawful” removal of Dr. Peter Mathuki from his position as Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC).

Mabirizi’s legal action, documented in Reference No. 14 of 2024 at the East African Court of Justice, targets the Attorney General of Kenya and Dr. Peter Mathuki. The crux of the challenge lies in the assertion that the recall of Mathuki undermines the significance of the Secretary General role, relegating it to a mere ambassadorial position.

Citing Article 67 of the EAC Treaty, Mabirizi argues that the appointment of the Secretary General involves a nomination by a partner state and subsequent appointment by the Heads of State Summit, rather than the President of an individual country.

He further contends that the removal of Dr. Peter Mathuki and his replacement with another individual constitutes a violation of the fixed five-year term of office prescribed for the Secretary General, which cannot be arbitrarily terminated by the president of his respective nation. Additionally, Mabirizi emphasizes that the Secretary General is considered a member of the Community’s staff.

Furthermore, the lawyer asserts that the East African Legislative Assembly lacks the authority to impeach the Secretary General.

Mabirizi’s legal action coincides with the EAC Secretariat’s recent defense of Dr. Mathuki against allegations of financial mismanagement.

Lawyer Male Mabirizi addressing journalists
Lawyer Male Mabirizi addressing journalists

Over the weekend, it was disclosed that President William Ruto had designated Dr. Mathuki as the ambassador to Moscow, a move perceived as an attempt to mitigate the challenges faced by Dr. Mathuki and Kenya, particularly in light of impending impeachment proceedings within the regional parliament.

In response to accusations by members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Dr. Mathuki was alleged to have expended up to 6 million dollars (23 billion shillings) without the necessary appropriation from the regional Parliament, as mandated by regulations.

Moreover, EALA members asserted that Dr. Mathuki violated established procedures by appointing his son and remunerating him with 31,000 dollars (121 million shillings), all without adhering to the prescribed protocols, despite the presence of a substantive official in the position.

Consequently, the appointment of Caroline Mwende Mueke is anticipated, pending approval by the upcoming Heads of State Summit, as Dr. Mathuki’s replacement.

“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.

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“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.”

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.”