ICJ Hits Back At President Kenyatta’s Remarks on the Judiciary

ICJ Hits Back At President Kenyatta’s Remarks on the Judiciary

On Tuesday, 1st June, President Uhuru Kenyatta blasted the Judiciary for the recent judgement regarding the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)

The remarks were made during the 58th Madaraka Day celebrations held at the newly-built Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.

The President’s Remarks

In his comments, the President termed the decision as irresponsible and negating the will of the people.

His comments are seen to potentially cause a further rift between his office and the Judiciary.

“From nullification of a presidential election in 2017 to an attempt to stop the will of the people as expressed through BBI, the Judiciary has tested our constitutional limits.”

The President’s remarks follow last month’s decision by the High Court to quash the BBI push for constitutional amendment. The five-judge bench termed the process as unconstitutional, null and void.

They added that by advancing the BBI process, the President had breached the constitution, which he had sworn to defend.

Together with ODM Leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta has already appealed against the ruling.

ICJ & Linda Katiba’s Statements

In a rejoinder, the International Commission on Jurists (ICJ) Kenya and Linda Katiba have condemned President Uhuru’s remarks. 

ICJ Kenya spokesperson Kelvin Mogeni, through a statement, has termed the remarks as a threat to judicial independence. He further urged the President to avoid attacking the judiciary and let the law follow its course.

ICJ Kenya urges the President to exercise restraint and steer the narrative clear from personal and vindictive attacks aimed at discrediting the role of the Judiciary in our democracy and judges’ decisional independence, especially when the matter is now before the Court of Appeal.

While also condemning the remarks, Linda Katiba has termed the President’s comments a threat to both the Judiciary, and Judicial officers’ safety. 

“State officials who personally attack judges dangerously create political perception that the judicial system is serving a political or other purpose other than the fair administration of justice”.

Differences with his Deputy

On the other hand, Deputy President William Ruto, while speaking at the same function, urged for respect to the rule of law.

“It is important that we have a robust Legislature, performing Executive and independent Judiciary so that we can all celebrate the fruits of the rule of law, not rule of men.”

His sentiments followed an earlier rare show of love from Kisumu residents as DP Ruto entered the former Prime Minister’s perceived political turf. 

Backlash from Kenyans

These latest comments received backlash from members of the public who felt he had lost touch with the feelings of the common Kenyan. 

Gatundu South Member of Parliament Moses Kuria also expressed his displeasure with the President’s remarks.

These latest developments point to an increasingly deeply divided Government with his comments being largely unpopular.

Will the President ignore court orders and proceed with the BBI process? Is his appeal merited? Is the President losing touch with the common mwananchi?

Has reggae finally been stopped?

Let us know in the comments and keep it C.O.K for more developments on this story.

C.O.K Correspondent
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