Court declares Uhuru's Judiciary restructure order unconstitutional

In Summary

• In a judgement delivered by Justice James Makau found that LSK had demonstrated that the intended restructures of the Judiciary are a threat to the financial independence of the Judiciary.

• The court also found that it is unconstitutional for President Uhuru Kenyatta to purport to organize government and set out Judiciary commissions and independent offices.

President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Image: FILE

The High Court on Thursday declared President Uhuru Kenyatta's Executive order that sought to restructure the Judiciary and tribunals into state departments unconstitutional.

In a judgement delivered by Justice James Makau found that LSK had demonstrated that the intended restructures of the Judiciary are a threat to the financial independence of the Judiciary.

The court also found that it is unconstitutional for President Uhuru Kenyatta to purport to organize government and set out Judiciary commissions and independent offices.

"I find that the implementation of the Executive order is unconstitutional and illegal," he ruled.

"A declaration is issued that the executive order number 1 of 2020 issued on January 14, 2020 purporting to organize the government and restructure the Judiciary are unconstitutional."

Last year, then Chief Justice David Maraga publicly criticised the president after the release of Executive Order No 1 of 2020, claiming that the Head of State had illegally altered the Judiciary’s organisational structure.

Following the CJ’s outcry, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) moved to court seeking to quash Uhuru’s directive on the basis that it was done without consultation.

In a claim filed by lawyers Manwa Hosea and Arnold Ochieng’ before Judge Makau, the LSK claimed that the order contravenes the Constitution by eroding the Judiciary’s independence.

According to the LSK, tribunals that ought to be under the Judiciary have been assigned to various government departments and ministries.