- Yes, the head of state is seemingly besieged with nothing going in any direction he had hoped, and one hopes he finds bearing soon.
- However, in tough times like this, heroes emerge or if one fails, they fail miserably.
President William Ruto’s recent outburst threatening to ignore court rulings caught everyone by surprise. So much so such that some Kenyans on social media wondered whether the President wasn’t setting us all up for another surprise no different from his ascendency to the presidency.
For those with short memory, Ruto’s ascendancy to the presidency prominently featured the very Judiciary he relegated to junior staff in his office in his pronouncement.
Fortunately, the head of state's pronouncement was met with swift condemnation as well as the ringing of alarm bells across the country. In the old days, when a President wanted to ignore the Judiciary, he did not blab that in public. He just did, not that there was anything to ignore because the then truly rotten Judiciary did what the President told them to do.
All that changed with the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2010. Although a good case can be made that the much heralded and revamped Judiciary has in the recent past suffered some retrogression, it is certainly not to the point even remotely close to the rottenness we had in it before 2010.
A sack of rotten potatoes in a godown of good ones, yes, but the solution is not to burn down the godown. Yet, that’s tantamount to what the Ruto openly declared he wanted to do with the Judiciary.
Rather, the President has within his reach various tools and weapons he can use to rid the Judiciary of the rotten potatoes. That is assuming everyone is reading from the same page what a rotten potato is in that institution.
A rotten potato is not a judge who examines a law and finds it unconstitutional applying normal legal analysis. A rotten potato is not a panel of judges who examine that judge’s ruling on appeal and uphold the ruling. A rotten potato is not an apex court that weighs the pros and cons of overturning an election and finds no good reason to do so.
A rotten potato in the Judiciary is a judge dispensing justice—or more accurately, not dispensing justice on account of how much his or her pocket has been stuffed. A prominent blogger said on social media that the last administration bribed judges to make rulings favourable to the government.
The President echoed this charge in saying that his predecessor’s government had a budget to bribe courts to tilt decisions in its favor.
This begs the question, if this is true as Ruto and the aforementioned blogger would have us believe, what has he done since taking over power to hold those who abused their judicial powers like this responsible?
Does the President want us to believe he is powerless to hold corrupt judges responsible for their corruption?
Even more telling, does the President want us to believe the cure for corrupt judges in the Judiciary is wholesome doing away with the institution?
That would make no sense, and as Ruto has no doubt noted since his unfortunate remarks, any effort to undercut, undermine, or ignore judicial decisions would only guarantee anarchy of a kind the country has not seen before.
Not the President and not anyone in their right mind would wish to see that happen.
Yes, the head of state is seemingly besieged with nothing going in any direction he had hoped, and one hopes he finds bearing soon. However, in tough times like this, heroes emerge or if one fails, they fail miserably.
Whatever the President does, it cannot make things worse than they are. A question many keep asking is, what happened to Ruto, who executed a presidential campaign unlike any before?
The retort is it was a campaign built on lies, but surely, there had to be something else the head of state could draw on to save his downward-spiralling presidency.
What is even more interesting, though sad to watch, is that many of the President’s own men and women are busy gluttonously eating, they’re oblivious to the suffering in the nation they are supposed to help lead.
A shame, indeed, but they have none.