Lawyers threaten to expel AG, Ogeto from the roll of advocates

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has threatened to expel Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki and solicitor-general Kennedy Ogeto from the roll of advocates in an escalation of a dispute arising from failure by President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint 41 judges.

The row was started by Chief Justice David Maraga, who on Monday accused President Kenyatta of trying to weaken the Judiciary and make it subservient to the executive.

The CJ said failure by President Kenyatta to swear in 41 judges had led to near paralysis of court operations.

But in a rejoinder, Mr Kariuki defended President Kenyatta and accused Justice Maraga of breaching established norms of government and direct lines of communication, which exist between the offices of CJ, AG and the President.

The LSK Friday said its council will on July 23 hold a meeting in which it will expel the two from their roll of advocates. “Mr Kariuki’s contact insofar as failure to swear in 41 nominated judges amounts to gross misconduct, subversion of the law and contravenes his duties as an advocate of the High Court,” said LSK in part in its notice of the council meeting.

Earlier, LSK Nairobi branch chairman Eric Theuri had faulted the sustained reduction of the Judiciary budget to a point where it is unable to deliver services. “This has placed a heavy burden on access to justice for ordinary citizens,” he said.

Mr Theuri said it was regrettable that Mr Kariuki had demonstrated the highest dereliction of duty and was no longer a servant of the constitution and the people.

He said it was time to re-examine the role and place of the membership of the Attorney-General at the JSC.

“There is obvious conflict of interest as the current impasse has demonstrated. The Attorney-General cannot be part of a decision and later on be the one to cast aspersions on the decision and challenge the same in court,” he said.

In Mombasa, lawyers challenged the AG to state whether he concurred with the decision of the JSC on the hiring of the 41 new judges.

“The AG’s conduct demonstrates that he has failed to serve the public interest as a member of the JSC,” Mr Nyabena said.

He added that the AG ought to table material that was presented to the JSC as evidence of misconduct on those proposed to be appointed as judges.

He wondered what steps the executive had taken to have serving judges with alleged integrity issues removed from office as per the constitution.

The North Rift LSK branch blamed a backlog of more than 7,000 cases in the region on the impasse between President Kenyatta and the Chief Justice. Chairman Joshua Maritim called on the Head of State to urgently appoint the 41 persons.

“It does not serve Kenyans to have a spat between the Attorney-General and the Chief Justice,” he said.

Reporting by Sam Kiplagat, Titus Ominde and Philip Muyanga.

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