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AG contests ruling against recalling marriage certificates

The government wants a decision stopping it from recalling all marriage certificate books and increasing marriage fees overturned.

Attorney General Githu Muigai, through State counsel Moimbo Momanyi, says it was after his office received several queries from the public that the government thought it wise to issue information on the factual status of the Marriage Act 2014.

He said that so far no licence had been cancelled despite a gazette notice dated September 5 requiring every minister to apply for renewal of licences and, accordingly, return all marriage certificate books for issuance of new ones.

Justice George Odunga, on October 23, halted the enforcement of the new Act on grounds that the new rules were infringing on the rights of faith ministers.

The Registrar of Marriages, Ms Mary Mutaaru, seeking to relieve tension over the legislation, said she recalled all certificates to help her office audit the number of marriages celebrated, clean up records on those given authority to officiate unions and issue synchronised certificates that are in line with the Constitution.

REPEALED STATUTES

She said a minister’s licence is not held in eternity as it could be cancelled in writing owing to various reasons given by relevant authorities to the registrar.

“It will be fallacious to continue issuing certificates bearing the marks of repealed statutes of old regimes,” she said.

She also sent out word to those opposed to the new order, saying their colleagues in other denominations are streaming to her office seeking renewal of their licences while others want to be considered as marriage officers for the first time.

“The petitioner and 211 others similarly applied for renewal of their licences on October 16 in compliance with that notice. Within a record eight days, their licences were processed and issued,” Ms Mutaaru said.

The registrar also said that as at October 15, 2014, she had issued almost 2,000 licences and 24,000 leaves of new marriage certificate books.