In a clear demonstration that he will not back down on public claims of deep rot within the Judiciary and his resolution to stump out what he termed as “judicial impunity” and “corrupt judges” president William Ruto has today maintained his onslaught on the third arm of government.
“(Lawyer) Ahmednasir SC, you warned me of sabotage by corrupt judicial officers. I told you there are many good officers in the judiciary and that we will root out the corrupt. We shall. Muite SC, the impunity of bribing judges so as not (sic) to derail, delay, or sabotage Kenya’s imminent transformation will never happen under my watch. Not a single cent will be used to bribe anybody. Matters of all corrupt individuals remains what I said (Mambo ya wafisadi wote ni yale nilisema)…,” the president tweeted via his X handle.
Yesterday, in a rare amalgamation of stance against the president, Chief Justice Martha Koome, association of judges and magistrates, the Law Society of Kenya and the opposition said that by defying the rule of law the Head of State would be setting the stage for anarchy.
But in his response, in a statement issued by State House, the president saidcorruption, whether within the Judiciary, the Executive, the Legislature or the general public must not find refuge behind the shield of judicial independence.
“It is our duty to expose and hold accountable those who engage in corrupt practices whoever they maybe and wherever they are. It would be a dereliction of the president’s oath of office, and a betrayal of the people’s mandate to allow their hopes and aspirations to be obstructed by corruption and impunity.” President Ruto said through State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed.
In the statement, the president also lambasted the Law Society of Kenya, saying it has no mandate to advise him on matters of constitution and independence of the Judiciary.
The Head of State further said the influence of vested interests and corrupt judicial officials must be countered.
“Historically, Kenya has been held back by a few corrupt individuals and those with vested interests who impede inclusive national development. This is a moment in history when our country has a chance to break free from the chains of impunity and realise the transformation mandated by the people and legislated by Parliament.” The statement read in part.
The president said as a believer in the Constitution, he recognises the imperative to lead by example in defending our constitutional values, including shielding Kenyan citizens from judicial misconduct perpetrated by corrupt officers colluding with vested interests.
The president’s response came hours after Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga told the Head of State to respect other arms of government and cautioned him against interfering with the Judiciary.
Raila accused Ruto of trying to hijack the Judiciary by intimidating judges and magistrates not to hear cases against his policies, dismiss such cases or rule in his favour.
“It was my hope that after the turmoil and pain experienced in 2023, from which Kenyans are still deeply suffering, the Kenya Kwanza administration would begin this new year with much more reflection and humility that would raise hopes that important lessons had been learned and 2024 would be better. We were wrong.” Raila asserted.
The ooposition chief reiterated that he is ready to push the government to respect the rule of law and bring down the cost of living, saying Kenyans have made heavy and painful sacrifices in the past to establish a semblance of constitutional democracy.