Chief Justice David Maraga has sharply criticised President Uhuru Kenyatta for refusing to meet him to end the standoff over the appointment of 41 new judges.
Maraga said President Kenyatta’s refusal to swear in the judges has contributed to a massive backlog of cases currently being experienced in the Judiciary.
DISOBEYING COURT ORDERS
Speaking on Monday at the Supreme Court, Maraga said it is no longer tenable for the President to continue refusing to obey two court orders compelling him to appoint the judges to their respective positions.
“You know I have respect for you as our President, you also know that I have unsuccessfully sought an appointment with you to sort out these issues but it has been futile leaving me with no option but to make this public,” Maraga said.
The CJ also asked the President to direct the Attorney General to begin the process of satisfying the decrees issued by the courts.
“The court ruled that the President cannot decide to cherry pick from the names of nominees. He has no residual judicial power to question or reject the names. The legal position is that the President is obliged by the two valid court orders to appoint the 41 judges. The President’s disregard of court orders doesn’t board well for our constitutional democracy and is potentially a recipe for anarchy,” he said.
The CJ also complained about an emergent trend by the government to refuse to obey court orders, including delaying payment of decrees for victims of accidents caused by government vehicles.
“In addition to these two specific orders, the Executive consistently disregards court orders. Recently, against court orders, the government evicted squatters in Kariobangi. The government has refused to order court decrees, many of them on the compensation of road accident victims caused by government vehicles,” said Maraga.
The CJ further reminded the president of the oath of office he took to defend constitution and the laws of Kenya and challenged him demonstrate that faith and respect the rule of law and comply with court orders.
The CJ’s statement comes in the backdrop of threats by the Law Society of Kenya to take legal action against the President and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki for not swearing in the 41 judges.
This is the latest instalment in the frosty relationship between Maraga and President Kenyatta.
Last year, a furious Maraga threatened not to attend some state functions unless the government starts treating him and the Judiciary with respect.
The president responded a day later by urging the cash-strapped Judiciary to expedite cases relating to tax collection in the near future.
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