STRIKE CALL

Koome chides Mutunga for calling strike over Uhuru's court order disobedience

Koome chides Mutunga for calling strike over Uhuru's court

In Summary

• The CJ added that such expressions threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of Kenyans.

• “We must all stand together to find lesser damaging alternatives which are not at variance with our collective obligations as a people to defend the Constitution.”

Chief Justice Martha Koome during the swearing-in ceremony of Court of Appeal president Daniel Musinga at the Supreme Court on June 11, 2021.
Chief Justice Martha Koome during the swearing-in ceremony of Court of Appeal president Daniel Musinga at the Supreme Court on June 11, 2021.
Image: FILE

Chief Justice Martha Koome has told judges to disregard her predecessor Willy Mutunga’s call for judges to strike following the Executive's disobedience of court orders.

Koome in a statement on Friday urged judges to focus on progressive reforms to reduce the case backlog.

“I have, with tremendous respect, expressed my deepest disapproval personally to the retired Chief Justice and restate herewith to the people of Kenya that my foremost obligation is to defend the tenets of Judicial Authority espoused under Article 159 of the Constitution. Justice shall be done to all and without delay,” Koome said.

She said that the implications of such incitement from Mutunga are meant to disrupt access to justice for Kenyans.

“The implications of calling for a judicial strike are far-reaching. It is in part, calling for the suspension or dismemberment of the Constitution by excluding one arm of Government from the constitutional operations of our democratic state.”

The CJ added that such expressions threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of Kenyans.

“We must all stand together to find lesser damaging alternatives which are not at variance with our collective obligations as a people to defend the Constitution.”

Koome said when Mutunga served as the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission, he disapproved any action by judges to strike when three Supreme Court judges were indicted with allegations to down their tools.

He did that by laying charges before the JSC calling for the removal of Justice Njoki Ndung’u, Mohammed Ibrahim, and JB Ojwang’.

The three have since been cleared of those allegations.

Also, the CJ said that Mutunga had adopted a diplomatic approach to deal with the impasse, which included a plea to the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association to withdraw a suit filed on the same matter to allow negotiations.

Instead, the CJ has welcomed Mutunga to support the institution that he transitioned from the difficult dictatorial days by strengthening its capacity to continue dispensing justice to Kenyans through constructive dialogue.

Among the court orders that the government has disregarded includes the case of lawyer Miguna Miguna who has been leaving in exile.

Also, the court had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint the six remaining judges of the Supreme Court but no action has been taken by the state.