Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday called out President Uhuru Kenyatta over what he termed as refusal to swear in 41 judges as proposed by the JSC in 2019.
Addressing reporters, the president of the apex court revealed that the head of state has disobeyed two court ordered requiring him to swear in judges in 14 days.
“The refusal of the President to appoint the 41 judges, was a grave violation of the constitution,” he said.
For instance, the president of the judiciary said, a land case filed at Milimani courts today will be heard earliest in 2 years.
“If you file a land case in the environment and land court at Milimani in Nairobi today, the earliest your case will be heard is in 2022. The Court of Appeal has only 15 Judges serving the republic with a case load of 7,315 as at 31st March 2020,” he stated.
According to Maraga, Uhuru has on different occasions refused to hold meetings with him to discuss the aforementioned among other issues.
“I have for a long time now unsuccessfully sought an appointment to discuss this issue with you, leaving me no choice but to raise the matter through this public statement; you swore to defend and uphold the constitution and the laws of Kenya,” the CJ lamented.
Maraga also noted that the president’s refusal to obey court orders is a recipe for anarchy.
“The President’s disregard of court orders, doesn’t board well for our constitutional democracy and is potentially a recipe for anarchy; the Executive routinely disregards court orders,” he said.
He gave an example of the demolitions in Kariobangi that saw more than 1000 Kenyans left homeless. The police carried out orders in spite of a court order halting the demolitions.
“I urge you to now demonstrate that faith and respect the rule of law by complying with those two court orders; the government cannot demand of its citizens, the obedience of the law it is itself disobeying with abandon,” he added.
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) gave the Attorney General and the President 7 days to swear in the 41 judges and gazette lawyers as essential service providers or risk legal action.
In a letter to the AG, LSK president Nelson Havi said, “In order to remedy the disobedience of court orders by the state on swearing of judges and listing lawyers as essential service providers, LSK says it has decided that the decrees are complied with unreservedly within seven days or they take legal action.”
Last week, Maraga admonished the president for placing the Judicial Service Commission under a state department in an Executive Order.
This he said, interfered with the independence of the Judiciary.
The CJ said the JSC is part of the Judiciary, a government branch that cannot be assigned functions by the Executive.