President Kenyatta and his Jubilee cabal under fire for threatening the judiciary

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party lieutenants’ have been condemned for their attacks against the judiciary and their veiled threats on individual judges over electoral disputes pending before courts.
The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) said statements by President Kenyatta, his  deputy  William  Ruto,  Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Majority Leader Aden Duale, targeting the judiciary were a recipe for chaos in the country.
A statement by ICJ Kenya executive Director, Mr Samwel Mohochi, asked President Kenyatta to demonstrates leadership and retract his unfortunate remarks against the judiciary.
While speaking in Kabartonjo Town in Baringo County, President Kenyatta and the other Jubilee leaders faulted the courts over the recent ruling on the award of printing of ballot papers to a Dubai-based company.
President Kenyatta warned judges against frustrating the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in order not to conduct the August 8 General Election.
The President said he would not accept any attempt to postpone the polls.
Speaking at Kabartonjo Primary School in Baringo County on Sunday, President Kenyatta said the Judiciary should not take them for fools for being silent as the courts make decisions that could lead to the postponement of the elections
He said Jubilee will no longer keep silent as the Judiciary continues to put up obstacles towards the preparations for the coming polls.

“I want to tell those in the courts that because we have respected you for a long time we are not fools. We cannot accept the courts to be used by those not interested in the elections to frustrate IEBC,” said the President.

The Jubilee leaders accused Chief Justice David Maraga over comments attributed to him on the case before it was heard by the court claiming that he may have influenced the outcome.

In the ruling, the three High Court judge bench stopped Al Ghurair from printing the presidential ballot papers even as it okayed for the other five positions of governor, senator, MP, woman representatives and MCAs.
And the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) termed President Kenyatta’s attack on the judiciary as irresponsible and an act of intimidation.
In a statement, LSK president Isaac Okero said the attack was “deplorable and an attempt to compromise the independence of the Judiciary”.
Mr Okero noted that the members of the Executive and the Legislature, their status notwithstanding, do disservice to the nation by violating the constitutional principles that guarantee the independence of the Judiciary.

“It is irresponsible of the president, the deputy president, MPs or any person to make statements to the effect that the Chief Justice and judges of the Judiciary are partial, make decisions founded on bias or that judges are directed by the CJ and do not enjoy decisional independence,” he said.

ICJ Kenya said if  the  rule  of  law  is  to  be  upheld, it  is  essential  that  there  should  be  an  independent  judiciary as the  rule  of  law  requires  that  the  courts  have  jurisdiction  to scrutinize the actions  of  government  to  ensure  that  they  are  lawful.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto addressing Jubilee supporters in Baringo. PHOTO/PSCU
“We believe in the liberty of the individual under the law, in equal rights for all citizens  regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief; and in the individual’s  inalienable  right  to  participate  by  means  of  free  and  democratic  political  processes  in  framing the society in which he or she lives,” Mr Muhochi said.
He said the  citizen  must  be  able  to  challenge  the  legitimacy  of  executive  action  before  an independent  judiciary

 “The  interrelated  nature of President Uhuru’s frontal attack  on  the  Judiciary  as  a  whole and veiled threats on individual judges with regards to electoral dispute resolution sends a dangerous  and  chilling  message: that  the  executive  shall  not  respect  electoral  dispute resolution by the courts and flagrantly negates public trust and confidence in the rule of law,” Mr Muhochi said.

He said President Kenyatta’s threats against the Judiciary fell way  below  the  leadership  standard  expected  of  a government and  its  leaders.
The LSK said statements such as those issued by Jubilee leaders erode public confidence in the Judiciary and are acts of intimidation completely inconsistent with the oaths of office of these high ranking state officers that bind them to respect and uphold the constitution.
“The accusations and warnings levelled at the Chief Justice and the judiciary represent as unacceptable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers and a gross violation of the independence of the judiciary at a time when it plays critical role on behalf of the people in resolving disputes arising from election process,” Mr Okero said.

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