AG Kariuki defends Uhuru on judges impasse

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AG Kariuki defends Uhuru on judges impasse

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki has defended President Uhuru Kenyatta from accusations of ignoring court orders.

Instead, Mr Kariuki blamed Chief Justice David Maraga, who made the claims Monday, of breaching established norms of government and direct lines of communication that exist between the offices of CJ, AG and the President.

In a scathing attack directed at President Kenyatta, Justice Maraga had further accused the Executive of failing to settle claims arising from court cases, amounting to Sh1 billion.

The CJ said many of the decrees arise from personal injury claims by victims of road accidents, caused by government vehicles.

“How can we expect God to bless our nation when we are so callous to the most desperate in our society?” he posed.

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The CJ also cited the failure of President Kenyatta to swear in some 41 judges as recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

He said the shortage of judges and the near paralysis of court operations has been caused by Mr Kenyatta’s to swear in the Judges since July 2019.

Justice Maraga said the President said he refused to swear them because some had integrity issues and that he was consulting with relevant state organs with a view to taking appropriate legal and administrative action, including a review of the JSC recommendations.

However, he added, the argument was rejected by the court stating that the appointment of judges is not subject to review, reconsideration or second-guessing by the President. The court gave the President 14 days to swear them in.

The CJ said the disregard of the court orders does not bode well for the constitutional democracy and is, potentially a recipe for anarchy.

Mr Kariuki said the CJ was setting tone for judges and magistrate over matters that are either currently or would in the near future, end up before courts, for determination.

“As a judge of the Supreme Court, the CJ is also revealing his disposition and prejudices over certain constitutional and legal issues that may end up before the Supreme Court for determination,” he said, adding that the CJ did not disclose sources of his facts and accuracy of the claims in he made.

He defended the Executive saying it has always and remained committed to implementing all court orders, to the extent lawfully practicable, save for instances where there are appropriate stay orders and pending appeals.

In most cases, he added, delays in paying the decretal sums are occasioned by delays in determining the appeals, many of which are still pending before various courts.

He said in the current financial year, the government has paid out Sh1.6 billion in pending bills and a further Sh113 million is being processed for payment.

“The statements (by the CJ) demonstrate that the honourable the Chief Justice has failed to cultivate the spirit of constructive consultation and has instead resorted to grandstanding and populist brinkmanship, with the Executive as his bogeyman,” he said.

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