‘I respect you, but…’ CJ Maraga’s strongly-worded personal address to President Kenyattta
Chief Justice David Maraga has boldly called out President Uhuru Kenyattta over disregard of court orders and the rule of law by the Executive.
Maraga was speaking on Monday, in a press briefing to address the failure by President Kenyatta to appoint the 41 judges recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in 2019.
He said the President had disregarded two court orders and was in violation of the Constitution by refusing to appoint the 41 judges recommended by JSC.
“It is important to clearly and categorically state that this shortage of judges and the near paralysis of court operations has been caused by the President. The President has persisted in his refusal despite orders in two cases requiring him to swear in those judges within 14 days,” said the Chief Justice.
Maraga used the last three minutes of his statement to personally address Kenyatta on what he described as a pattern of disregarding court orders by the President and by extension the Executive.
Here is the message from the Chief Justice to the President:
“I want to address the President personally… Your Excellency you know I have respect for you as our President and I have told you that. You also know that I have, for a long time now, unsuccessfully, sought an appointment to discuss this issue with you leaving me with no option but to raise the matter through this public statement.
It will be a dereliction of duty if I do not raise Wanjiku’s agonies in my domain. At least let her know that I share in her frustrations. It is for this reason that I must remind you Your Excellency that you swore to defend and uphold the Constitution and the laws of Kenya.
The Constitution, as the two multi-judge Court cases held, requires you to appoint Judges recommended to you by the JSC which you have refused to do. The laws of this country include valid court orders. It therefore behooves you to appoint the 41 persons recommended for appointment by the JSC as ordered by the Court without any further delay.
As your Excellency has pledged in the past, you respect the Rule of Law. I urge you to now demonstrate that faith and respect for the Rule of Law by complying with those two Court Orders.
In doing so, you will also alleviate much suffering for Kenyans who are seeking justice in our Courts. In the same vein, I request your Excellency to instruct the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya to take stock of all the Court decrees and orders issued against the Government and to immediately begin a process of satisfying them.
It greatly undermines the rule of law for the Government to act in defiance of Court Orders and this pattern puts at great risk our constitutional democracy because it risks the contagion of lawlessness.
The Government should be in the forefront in upholding the Rule of Law. The Government cannot demand of its citizens the obedience of the law it is itself disobeying with abandon.”
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