Chief Justice David Maraga has warned politicians in both Jubilee and the opposition to stop intimidating judges.
Maraga, who was speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, said there is an increased political attack on the judiciary over the last few months.
“Over the last few months, a pattern has emerged where political leaders habitually hurl attacks at members of the Judiciary, focusing either on individual judges or the institution as a whole.
They have taken to criticizing decisions reached by Judges, and, with increasing regularity, making threats and demands that fly in the face of judicial independence, the fundamental principle upon which our work rests,” read a statement signed by Maraga for and on Behalf of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
UHURU, RUTO, RAILA AND KALONZO ACCUSED OF INTIMIDATING JUDGES
Maraga named President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, Mr Odinga and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, Majority Leader Aden Duale, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, and Kinango MP Gonzi Rai as the top politicians who have tried to intimidate judges.
He criticised Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka for threatening to mobilise their supporters to demonstrate if the Court of Appeal changed the decision that the presidential election results declared at the constituency are final and president Uhuru for accusing the Judiciary of working with the Opposition when the High Court ruled that IEBC must re-advertise tender for printing of presidential ballot papers.
“On July 10, 2017: President Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto insisted that Judges are working with the opposition to postpone elections,” he said.
Justice Maraga said the trend was worrying, calling it an affront to the rule of law.
“The emerging culture of public lynching of judges and judicial officers by the political class is a vile affront to the rule of law and must be fiercely resisted. This is particularly so when the tone and regularity of the condemnations transgress the ordinary boundary of disagreement and debate on judicial pronouncements and lurch alarmingly in the direction of threats, intimidation, and blackmail,” the CJ said.
“THE JUDICIARY WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED”
He boldly said the JSC and the Judiciary would not be intimidated, adding that the commission would remain steadfast in defending judges and the institution from unwarranted attacks.
He told politicians that the judicial system had sufficient avenues for recourse should litigants be dissatisfied with decisions made by the courts.
“The most obvious one is the appellate avenue, which the political leaders have themselves used extensively in the past. Allowing litigants to choose their judges would be tantamount to abdicating from a cardinal principle of judicial and decisional independence that we hold so dear,”he said.