LEADER

Arms of government must respect each other

The Judiciary has been turned into a punching bag whenever the other arms are not happy with its decisions

In Summary

• Article 1 (3) clearly gives the distinction and precise functions of the three arms of government, and states that the sovereign power of the people is delegated to each.

• However, there is an increasing trend where each of the three arms tries to get into each others lane and carry out functions not assigned to it.

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Chief Justice Martha Koome at parliament buildings on May 27, 2021.
President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Chief Justice Martha Koome at parliament buildings on May 27, 2021.
Image: PARLIAMENT

The Constitution clearly spells out the roles of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

Article 1 (3) clearly gives the distinction and precise functions of the three arms of government and states that the sovereign power of the people is delegated to each.

However, there is an increasing trend where each of the three arms tries to overstep the limits of their powers.

The main victim has been the Judiciary, which has been turned into a punching bag whenever the other arms are not happy with its decisions.

On several occasions, it has cried foul at covert and overt means used time and again to "intimidate and tame" it.

Where outright threats and intimidation fail to work, budget cuts are used to sabotage and cut it down to size.

For the Judicature to deliver on its mandate, it must enjoy financial and administrative independence; it must be free from fear.

At least its officers now enjoy the security of tenure, unlike in the one-party Kanu days when those perceived to be unfriendly were fired without a hearing. 

Just like corporates and civilians, the other arms of government are free to appeal against any court ruling they deem unfair. 

While the judicial system is far from perfect, it is Kenya's last bastion of defence, hence once its decisions are disregarded, the rule of law becomes a thing of the past.

Therefore, for our democracy and the rule of law to flourish, each arm of government should keep to its lane.