President-elect William Ruto during his inauguration speech said he was today going to appoint and oversee the swearing-in of six court of appeal judges, who had been rejected by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.
The six rejected judges, who include; Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Chacha Mwita, Aggrey Muchelule, and Weldon Korir are part of a total 41 judges who had been nominated by the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) to various Courts in 2019.
Ruto Appoints Six Rejected Court of Appeal Judges
The 41 Judges were interviewed and shortlisted by the JSC in In July 2019, and their names were recommended to the president for appointment. It was however not until June 2021 that president Uhuru Kenyatta appointed 35 judges out of the 41, leaving out the six on grounds that they “did not fit the criteria for appointment or promotion to the specified courts”.
In October 2021, the High Court directed president Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint the six Court of Appeal judges, who had left out while appointing the rest of the judges in June but the order was not honoured.
During her parliamentary vetting following her nomination as Chief Justice, Martha Koome brought the issue to the fore, saying she was going to negotiate with then president Uhuru Kenyatta for their appointment.
President Ruto in his inauguration speech lauded the judiciary for upholding the rule of law and demonstrating their independence in the 2022 presidential election petition ruling.
He further announced that he was on Wednesday morning going to appoint the six judges, as a demonstration of his government’s commitment to respect and uphold the independence of the Judiciary.
Ruto to Drop Fuel Subsidy
Ruto has also announced that his government will do away with Kenya’s long-standing fuel subsidy, which according to him is not sustainable.
According to the President-elect, Kenya would spend Sh200 Billion if it was to continue implementing the fuel subsidy, saying Sh144 billion has so far been spent on the program to stabilize fuel prices in the past year.
“The interventions in place have not borne any fruit. On fuel subsidy alone, the taxpayers have spent a total of Sh144 billion, a whooping Ksh 60 billion in the last 4 months. If the subsidy continues to the end of the financial year, it will cost the taxpayer Sh280 billion, equivalent to the entire national government development budget,” Ruto said.
The fuel subsidy was initiated by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta in a move to reduce the cost of fuel by approximately 13 percent but Ruto now says it is no longer tenable.
Understanding Kenya’s Fuel Subsidy
Kenya has a price control policy, which provides a framework for a fuel stabilization fund, which is aimed at cushioning the economy when global crude prices skyrocket.
The fund became operational in April 2021. From each litre of petrol and diesel sold by oil marketing firms, KSh 5.40 goes to the stabilisation fund.
According to the National Treasury, the government spent Sh49.164 billion in the last financial year to stabilise petroleum prices.
Kenyans have had to contend with increased fuel prices, which have reached an all-time high this year. Currently, a litre of petrol is selling at sh 150 while diesel is going for sh 140. Without the fuel subsidy cushion, petrol prices would have jumped to Sh209.70 per litre from July 15, while diesel would be Sh193.70 in Nairobi, according to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).
In his Labour Day address in May this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta maintained that the government has tried its best to cushion Kenyans against high fuel prices, saying if it wasn’t for this subsidy, fuel prices in Kenya could be much higher
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been pushing Kenya to drop the fuel subsidy by October 2022, in the recent Sh270.2 billion ($2.34 billion) loan package extended to Kenya.
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