Chief Justice Martha Koome has sparked a new supremacy battle with Parliament after questioning lawmakers’s mandate to oversee the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission.
Koome wrote to National Assembly Speakers Justin Muturi and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka accusing them of harassing Judiciary using frequent summononses.
“In the request past we have had frequent and multiple summons from Parliament, overlapping and duplicating summons from committees of the same Houses to discuss the same issue,” read part of Koome’s letter.
According to Koome, Parliament’s exercise of its oversight mandate is worrying and needs to be addressed since it only threatens the stable relationship that has been forged for the past years between the two states.
She directed the Judiciary not to engage any House committees until a meeting is convened to resolve what she termed as micromanagement of the Judiciary.
She noted that JSC is independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority.
“The judges in this case went to great lengths to distinguish between matters falling within the lawful and proper oversight by Parliament and those that were out of bounds for Parliament because they amounted to micromanagement of the JSC in its assigned functions. Flowing from this judgment, it is our considered view that some of the recent inquiries by the National Assembly offend the constitutional safeguards on the independence of the Judicial Service Commission,” she said.
The CJ blocked Chief Registrar Anne Amadi from appearing before National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee(PAC) to respond to audit queries.
Through a letter dated June 30, PAC summoned the Chief Registrar to appear before it on July 6.
In response, the Registrar appeared but the sitting was adjourned after the committee insisted that the chairperson and at least two other members of JSC’s Human Resource Management Committee appear.
Flagged by Auditor General Gathungu in 2018/2019 report, Amadi was to appear before the PAC chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi to respond on delays in confirming some new officer who have served in acting capacity for a long time.
According to the auditor, it is a violation of Judiciary Human Resources Policies and Procedures manual.
For instance, Susan Oyatsi has been the acting director of finance for at least 10 years.
The stinging letter is likely erupt major clashes between the two arms of government.