Civil society groups retract and apologise for implicating Judiciary in CAS swearing-in

A coalition of 17 civil society organizations has retracted and apologised for their earlier accusation that a top Judiciary official facilitated the swearing-in of 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) at State House on March 23, 2023.

The groups had claimed that the Judiciary was complicit in the illegal appointment of the CAS, which they said was against a litany of cases filed in court to challenge the proposed office of CAS.

However, on March 25, 2023, the Judiciary issued a statement denying any involvement in the swearing-in ceremony and clarifying that it has no role in administering such oaths except for the Presidency.

The civil society groups said they appreciated the clarification and apologised unreservedly for their error. They also clarified that their initial statement was issued by 14 organizations rather than an individual or one institution as highlighted by the Judiciary statement.

“We have read the statement by the Judiciary issued on the 25th March 2023 stating that it did not facilitate the swearing-in of the 50 illegal CAS at Statehouse, Nairobi and is never engaged in swearing in the Executive save for the Presidency. We appreciate this clarification. In light of the clarification, we retract our statement regarding a top Judiciary official facilitating the swearing-in of CAS on 23rd March 2023 and apologize unreservedly for that error,” the statement read.

The groups expressed their concern that Kenya is slowly sliding down a dangerous path where the Executive increasingly engages in illegalities and defies the rule of law. They praised the Judiciary for issuing two conservatory orders on March 24, 2023, stopping the 50 CAS from assuming or continuing in office or from earning any remuneration, benefit, or salary in the interim. They also lauded the Judiciary for upholding media freedom by suspending the Communication Authority of Kenya’s censure of six TV stations for factual reporting on the recent demonstrations.

The groups urged the Judiciary to remain independent, firm and true and to always act above suspicion by fiercely upholding the rule of law. They said the Judiciary remains Kenyans’ anchor and must not succumb to any pressure or interference from the Executive.

President William Ruto appointed 50 CAS on March 23, 2023, after communication from Speaker Moses Wetang’ula that there’s no law that requires them to be vetted by Parliament. The move was met with mixed reactions from the public and political leaders with a majority viewing it as a duplication of roles and unnecessary expenditure.

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