President Uhuru Kenyatta’s remarks on Judiciary continue to elicit criticism from leaders of all walks of life.
Speaking during Kenya’s 58the Madaraka Day Celebration on Tuesday, June 1, President Kenyatta accused the Judiciary of making irresponsible rulings against people’s will.
According to the Head of State, judges had not been considering the spirit of the law, thus making decisions whose consequences are severe.
“From nullification of a presidential election in 2017 to an attempt to stop the will of the people as expressed through BBI, the Judiciary has tested our constitutional limits,” the President said.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Linda Katiba, the pro-democracy lobby group, have condemned the remarks accusing the President of intimidating judges and diminishing Judiciary.
“We posit that the statements were a direct affront on judicial independence and were aimed at threatening and diminishing the status of the Judiciary. We wish to state that the remarks by the President and the Head of State were derogatory, given this was a national event,” said ICJ chairperson Kelvin Mogeni.
Linda Katiba, on the other hand, argued that Kenyatta always attacks the Judiciary when a court rules against him.
“Whatever one thinks about the merits of an issue before a court, there is no place for threats, whether real or allegorical. Personal attacks on judges by any elected officials, including the President, are simply inappropriate and unacceptable. Such comments challenge the reputation of the third, co-equal branch of state government; the independence of the Judiciary; and the personal safety of judicial officers,” said the group.
ICJ asked the President to exercise restraint and steer the narrative clear from personal and vindictive attacks aimed at discrediting the role of the Judiciary in our democracy and judges’ decisional independence, especially when the matter is now before the Court of Appeal
Linda Katiba claimed that continued attacks against judges would undermine the public confidence in Judiciary.