President William Ruto has reaffirmed his government will respect the Judiciary and the constitution.
Speaking during the opening of the 13th Parliament today, Ruto said that his administration will be intentional in respecting the constitutionally mandated systems of checks and balances.
“I am a firm believer in democracy and the rule of law that is why my first executive action when I took office was to undo a legacy of acts and omissions that had incrementally undermined the independence of the Judiciary for the avoidance of doubt the Judiciary is an arm of government just like parliament my administration will be intentional in respecting the constitutionally mandated systems of checks and balances,” he said.
In particular, former President Uhuru Kenyatta and his administration consistently attacked or undermined the Judiciary through disparaging public statements, targeted attacks against particular judges, social media smear campaigns, unsuccessful prosecution, disobeying court orders, and budget cuts, among other methods.
The Angaza Movement last year noted the ruling leadership had repeatedly threatened and undermined judicial independence in the long-running fight the Executive has with the court, which has recently intensified.
“We have noted with concern the executive’s attempts at the invasion of judicial independence especially when the judiciary passes judgments that seek to safeguard the constitutional doctrine of checks and balances,” the lobby group said.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) submitted 40 lists of candidates for the position of judge, and the President chose 34 (the original list included 41 candidates before one judge passed away).
The subsequent day, at a hurriedly organized public event held at State House in Nairobi, these were sworn in.
No justifications or explanations were provided for the president’s neglect, and none are plausible in light of the court orders from February 2020 that required him to choose judges in accordance with the JSC’s recommendation from the previous year.