MAINTAIN INTEGRITY

Protect independence of Judiciary, Ruto allies tell Koome

They say she should champion independence of government institutions instead of colluding with politicians

In Summary
  • The MPs urged Koome not to allow politicians to tarnish the reputation of the Judiciary that had earned the trust of Kenyans.
  • MP Duale said it was unconstitutional for Koome to sit in a technical committee that deals with the management of elections and still be the head of the Supreme Court.  
Chief Justice Martha Koome during the swearing-in ceremony of Court of Appeal president Daniel Musinga at the Supreme Court on June 11.
Chief Justice Martha Koome during the swearing-in ceremony of Court of Appeal president Daniel Musinga at the Supreme Court on June 11.
Image: FILE

Chief Justice Martha Koome has been asked to protect the independence of the Judiciary.

A section of leaders told Koome not to compromise on the independence of the Judiciary by taking part in the management of the country’s elections.

The leaders included Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, MPs Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Kimani Ichung'wa (Kikuyu), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili).

Others were Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Alex Kosgey (Emgwen), Aron Cheruiyot (Kericho), John Waluke (Sirisia), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) Caleb Kositany (Soy), Nelson Koech (Belgut), Wilson Kogo (Chesumei), Cornelly Serem (Aldai) and Julius Melly (Tinderet).  

Speaking in Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties when they accompanied Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesdy, the leaders said the Judiciary must be a neutral arbitrator of election disputes.

They expressed concern that should the Judiciary be part of elections management team, Kenyans will have nowhere to turn to in the event there are election disputes. 

“It is only the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that is mandated with the management of elections in this country,” said Ichung'wa.

The MPs urged Koome not to allow politicians to tarnish the reputation of the Judiciary that had earned the trust of Kenyans.

"Our Judiciary has been very independent and we must ask Justice Koome to help our Judiciary to continue being as independent as it has been," he said.

"She must not allow herself to be recruited into an illegal and unconstitutional outfit.”

Senator Murkomen on his part said Koome had no business engaging in election management with individuals who have already made their political stand known to Kenyans.

"To continue maintaining the independence of the judiciary, I want to ask Justice Koome with utmost humility to run away from those conmen pretending to be persons presiding over our elections,” he said.

Governor Sang called on independent institutions overseeing elections to exercise their mandate independently and in accordance with the Constitution.

He asked the Chief Justice to be on the forefront in advocating for independence of government institutions instead of colluding with politicians on issues of elections.

Duale said it was unconstitutional for Koome to sit in a technical committee that deals with the management of elections and still be the head of the Supreme Court.  

The former National Assembly’s majority leader said both of her predecessors, Justice Willy Mutunga and Justice David Maraga, never participated in such an unlawful exercise.

He urged her to exercise the independence of her office and steer clear of political outfits managed by impartial civil servants.  

"You cannot wear two hats by being part of the preparations and management of elections and when the elections are over, you want to wear another hat as an independent judicial officer in the determination of the presidential election disputes,” Duale said. 

Cherargei urged Koome to remain neutral in political affairs and give Kenyans an avenue of arbitrating election petitions fairly and independently.

"The newly formed multiagency committee has a hidden agenda that you may not be privy to. They will use your involvement in the management of election as a reason to reject election results should they lose,” Barasa said.

Ngunjiri and Kosgei said she should avoid politicians actively campaigning for ODM leader Raila Odinga. 

"Civil servants should be impartial. If you wish to take part in politics, please resign,” Ngunjiri said.

The DP assured Kenyans that leaders will work together to ensure peaceful and democratic elections in 2022.

He asked leaders to allow Kenyans to make independent choices in the 2022 elections without intimidations.

"We have faith that government institutions will ensure there is peace in Kenya," Ruto said.

"As leaders, we will make sure Kenyans have the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice devoid of threats, intimidation or unlawful and unconditional practices.” 

He said those in the 'Hustler Nation' have an elaborate plan that will address the country's economic challenges, which have resulted in high unemployment rates.

He urged Kenyans to shun tribal politics and work with other Kenyans to transform the country. 

(edited by Amol Awuor)