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CJ Koome tells off Ruto over attacks on the Judiciary

Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome responds to President Ruto after he accused the judiciary of being compromised to sabotage Government programmes. 

In an internal memo dated December 3, Wednesday, Koome noted that the trend of attacking and criticizing judges in public in ongoing cases is a way of intimidating them. 

CJ Koome went ahead to urge the judges and judicial staff to continue exercising their duties in accordance with the law and without any undue influence from any authority, adding that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will protect them.

“My Office and the Judicial Service Commission have made it clear to the other arms of government and to the general public that the proper way to challenge a court decision if one is dissatisfied, is to appeal or seek review in a higher court. Attacking judges and Judicial Officers who made a decision in public undermines all the values of our Constitutional order,” she stated.

“This recurring trend of discussing in public live matters in courts is a matter of great concern as it tends to threaten and intimidate judges and judicial officers to rule in a certain way in matters involving government policy,” part of the memo read. 

At the same time, Koome warned that the Judiciary was an independent and co-equal arm of government and urged judges to discharge their duties without fear or favour of anyone. 

“I wish to reassure judges and judicial officers, that my office will continue to protect the constitutional principle that guarantees the discharge of judicial mandate to be exercised without control or direction from any person or authority,” CJ Koome stated. 

Koome added, “When State or public officers threaten to defy court orders, the rule of law is imperiled setting the stage for anarchy to prevail in a nation.” 

Koome assured Kenyans that allegations or complaints of misconduct or corruption by any judge and judicial officer would be dealt with firmly in accordance with the Constitution. 

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“The Commission wishes to draw the attention of State and Public Officers to the fact that the Constitution places positive duties on the State to ensure respect for the law and adherence to the law by providing citizens with effective mechanisms for resolving disputes between themselves and between them and the State. Where a citizen obtains a court order against the State and that court order is deliberately ignored or disobeyed by State officials, the right of access to justice is undermined because it fatally attacks the effectiveness of the legal system on which ordinary citizens rely to have their rights and legal duties enforced,” she said. 

President William Ruto alleged that some elements had taken captive some judicial officers to frustrate Government efforts in taming the theft of public resources.  

“Our Judiciary, we respect you but judicial impunity by corrupt judicial officers must stop in Kenya. We will stop it, whatever it takes. The judiciary must submit itself to the constitution and to the people of Kenya,” remarked President Ruto.  

He added, “We will protect the independence of the Judiciary. But we will not allow selfish individuals to take it captive.” 

The Head of State also announced that he would defy court orders. 

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