JUDICIARY VS EXECUTIVE

You have failed Judiciary, LSK tells Uhuru

Lawyers dismiss President's criticism of Judiciary's performance in war on drugs and graft

In Summary
  • Citing the Akasha brothers case, Uhuru says it was a shame Kenyan courts failed to  prosecute the case but the US did within a year
  • LSK Coast branch chair Matthew Nyabena says it is Uhuru’s duty to provide adequate resources and manpower to the Judiciary
Chief Justice David Maraga and President Uhuru Kenyatta
FROSTY RELATIONS: Chief Justice David Maraga and President Uhuru Kenyatta
Image: FILE

The Law Society of Kenya Coast branch has defended the Judiciary against insinuations it is the weak link in the fight against drug trafficking and corruption.

President Kenyatta in his State of the Nation Address from State House, Mombasa, on Tuesday, appeared to point an accusing finger at the Judiciary for failure to convict drug trafficking and corruption suspects.

“I have no power of convicting the accused. We have done our part and I will continue to do so. Now the Judiciary should give us convictions as an indication that we are winning this war,” said Uhuru, adding that he respects the principle of separation of powers.

However, LSK Coast branch chair Matthew Nyabena told the Star on phone it was Uhuru’s duty to ensure he provides resources and manpower for the courts to clear cases expeditiously.

“We are well aware that the President has not appointed judges, who are manpower, to run these courts,” Nyabena said.

He said Uhuru was duty-bound to work closely with the Chief Justice to ensure the justice system is well funded and working.

“The apparent animosity between the Chief Justice and the President does not augur well for the fight against corruption,” Nyabena said.

Citing the Akasha brothers case, Uhuru said it was shame on Kenya that the government prosecuted a case against drug traffickers in the country but could not get a conviction only for the same traffickers to be arraigned in a US court and be convicted within a year.

 

The Akasha brothers Ibrahim and Baktash were sentenced to 23 and 25 years in prison respectively by a US Court.

Ibrahim was sentenced last Friday while Baktash was jailed last August.

They had pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges.

The two were arrested in Mombasa in November 2014, in a US-led sting operation, in which the brothers provided 99kg of heroin and two kilograms of methamphetamine to US drug informants posing as traffickers.

“That is something that our Judiciary should come to terms with,” said Uhuru.

However, Nyabena said in the Akashas case the evidence the US investigators had was so strong and clear-cut that the brothers opted to plead guilty.

“It was not a trial. So, as much as Uhuru, the DPP and the DCI say they have done their bit, they need to change their style so that every suspect taken to court should just be shown the evidence and plead guilty,” Nyabena said.

“When they come with general accusations which do not meet the threshold of the law, we have a problem.”

His sentiments were supported by lawyer and former Kisauni MP Ananiah Mwaboza, who has served as an advisor in the office of the Deputy President.

Mwaboza said so long as there are budgetary cuts to the Judiciary, performance of the courts will never be effective or efficient as people want.

 “Corruption cases must have enough resources. The three arms of the government must work together,” he said.

He noted that there is a hidden push and pull between the two organs which frustrates efforts to fight corruption and drug trafficking.

Nyabena said the Kenyan government should borrow a leaf from the US and possibly seek expertise and advice.

“It is not enough to arrest people and take them to court and say we have done our part,” Nyabena said.

Uhuru on Tuesday renewed his pledge to Kenyans on the fight against corruption.

“I will not turn to the left or right. I will not soft-peddle or back-peddle nor be intimidated,” he said.

“I will make no covenant with evildoers neither will I show mercy to those who wriggle our markets in order to enrich themselves.”