Lawyers from Mt Kenya region have thrown their weight behind Chief Justice David Maraga in his criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s failure to swear in the 41 judges vetted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The lawyers also hit out at the Executive for what they said is runaway contempt of the courts.
They said failure by the Head of State to appoint the judges has greatly affected service delivery by the Judiciary in its bid to clear the backlog of cases and decongest prisons.
In a statement read by Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Mt Kenya Branch Chairperson Lindah Kiome, the lawyers wondered why the President is reluctant to appoint the judges, observing that they had undergone public vetting.
They said the allegations that some of the 41 judges are tainted should not be used to prevent the appointments, arguing that the Attorney-General should have used the public vetting platform to table the allegations.
Ms Kiome at the same time said only JSC is tasked with vetting the judicial officers while the President’s role is to appoint the nominees.
Speaking at Alba Hotel in Meru, the Mt Kenya LSK chairperson pointed out that the AG is a member of the JSC and should have used the platform to table the said incriminating evidence.
The 14 regional LSK council members agreed that it is wrong for President Kenyatta to delay the appointment of all the 41 judges collectively due to the allegations levelled against some of them.
“These 41 judges went through a public interview process that was televised in Kenya and beyond. The AG and the Executive had a grand opportunity to present any existent reservations during this process.
“The AG, who is the chief legal adviser to the government and a member of the JSC, also participated in this interview process. Did he table this incriminating evidence against the candidates? Or did he approve the appointment of these candidates?” posed Ms Kiome.
The lawyers, at the same time, urged courts to be more ruthless in punishing people accused of contempt.
Citing the recent forcible evictions in Kariobangi while there was a court order barring the same, the lawyers said government officials are setting a bad example by ignoring court orders.
“It has become most imperative to call upon the President of the Republic of Kenya to be at the forefront in ensuring that all government institutions obey court orders in his quest in upholding our Constitution and the rule of law. A country that is not governed by the rule of law is a country that is flirting with anarchy,” said Ms Kiome.
Source: Daily Nation