The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has termed as irresponsible and an act of intimidation President Uhuru Kenyatta’s attack on the Judiciary over a recent ruling on the printing of presidential ballot papers.
In a statement, LSK president Isaac Okero said the attack was “deplorable and an attempt to compromise the independence of the Judiciary”.
Mr Okero noted that members of the Executive and the Legislature, their status notwithstanding, do disservice to the nation by violating the constitutional principles that guarantee the independence of the Judiciary.
“It is irresponsible of the president, the deputy president, MPs or any person to make statements to the effect that the Chief Justice and judges of the Judiciary are partial, make decisions founded on bias or that judges are directed by the CJ and do not enjoy decisional independence,” he said.
He said the judicial authority vested in the courts and tribunals is derived from the people.
He said such statements erode public confidence in the Judiciary and are acts of intimidation completely inconsistent with the oaths of office of these high-ranking state officers that bind them to respect and uphold the Constitution.
“The accusations and warnings levelled at the Chief Justice and the Judiciary represent an unacceptable breach of the doctrine of separation of powers and a gross violation of the independence of the Judiciary at a time when it plays a critical role on behalf of the people in resolving disputes arising from the election process,” Okero said.
During the Jubilee campaigns in Kabartonjo, Baringo County, on Sunday, the President, his deputy William Ruto and MPs faulted the courts over the recent ruling on the awarding of a ballot-printing tender to a Dubai-based company.
They criticised Chief Justice David Maraga over comments attributed to him on the case before it was heard by the court, claiming that he may have influenced the outcome.
In the ruling, the three High Court judges stopped Al Ghurair from printing presidential ballot papers even as it okayed the printing of ballots for governor, senator, MP, woman representatives and MCA.
The judges instead ordered the electoral commission to consult stakeholders in the election process, including presidential candidates, on the printing of presidential ballot papers.
Justice Maraga, after commissioning the construction of the Homa Bay High Court on June 22 this year, was quoted saying that the general elections would go on as planned despite the High Court case filed by Nasa contesting the awarding of the ballot-printing tender to Al Ghurair.