Raila to Koome: Stay away from the Executive

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has warned Chief Justice Martha Koome against meeting and negotiating with President William Ruto, saying that such a move would not only compromise the judiciary but also the country at large.

Chief Justice Koome, who is the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission has alluded to plans of meeting the head of state to discuss issues raised by the executive regarding alleged corruption in the judiciary.

According to Mr Odinga, such a meeting would be the first step by the Chief Justice to lowering her guard and eroding the principle of separation of powers.

Odinga stated that there are active cases involving the executive in court and therefore it would be ill-advised for CJ Koome to meet the President now.

“Already there is an active case in court whose ruling will be delivered on January 25th. If one doesn’t agree with the ruling, the aggrieved should file an appeal. There is no need for the CJ to have a talk with the executive. Let the judges do their work independently,” said Mr Odinga.

The Azimio leader was reacting to remarks by CJ Koome on Monday which appeared to suggest that consensus building with the President was needed.

The president has on several occasions accused unnamed persons of using alleged corrupt judges to block projects initiated by his administration.

However, Mr Odinga stated that nobody should negotiate his way out of a case.

“The CJ already took a position, there is no need to engage the executive. If you want to compromise the judiciary and negotiate with the executive over these kinds of disputes, then you are going to compromise the whole country,” said Mr Odinga.

He urged Kenyans to remain firm and protect their institutions. He also asked the judiciary to stand firm and follow the law to the letter.

“If I have a case in court I do not need to approach judges because that amounts to compromising justice. The president and his administration are either right or wrong, it’s either black or white. The CJ should not lower her guard because this is how the capture of judiciary and dictatorship starts,” said Mr Odinga.

He pointed out that he respected the courts even when his election petition was thrown out, however much he disagreed with it.

The Azimio leader accused the President of capturing the two houses of parliament, rendering them useless in their mandate and that now he has trained his eyes on capturing the judiciary.

“Nowadays directives come from State House to pass bad laws and this is spearheaded by the speakers. They want to now capture the judiciary, we will not accept dictatorship to take root in the country,” said Mr Odinga.

Mr Odinga was speaking in Vihiga County where he led other party leaders in a consultative meeting with ODM party delegates.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, Chairman John Mbadi, Leader of the minority in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi and Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi also condemned the proposed meeting between the leaders of the two arms of government.

“The Chief Justice should assert herself and stop appearing weak. She must act as the true head of one of the three arms of government and chairperson of an independent commission,” said Mr Wandayi.

Mr Osotsi said that while ODM are not in good books with the Chief Justice because of the controversial presidential election petition ruling, they still respected the judiciary as an independent institution.

“The judiciary must resist any attempts to fall for the executive’s intimidation tactics and stand by their decisions,” said Mr Osotsi.

Senator Sifuna asked the CJ to be firm against any attempts by the executive to control the judiciary.

“You cannot have dialogue with a hyena that is hungry for your children. I have sent the CJ a message telling her that the times we are living in demand bold action and people to stand up straight against dictatorship. There is nothing to talk about unless you want to compromise on cases that will continue hurting Kenyans,”said Mr Sifuna.

Mr Mbadi said there are four arms of government – executive, legislature, judiciary and independent commissions – adding that the Judicial Service commission should not be subjected to any office, authority or individual.

“Chief Justice please listen to us, the people of Kenya have entrusted you with the position of chair of the JSC. We do not want to see a meeting between you two unless it is a national conversation or dialogue where all of us are present,” said Mr Mbadi.

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