Jubilee Government Leading Assault on Rule of Law – Raila Odinga

By Rt. Hon Raila Odinga

Developments around the quick impeachment and then reinstatement of the Governor of the County of Embu Martin Wambora, and now the support of Parliament by the President of the Republic of Kenya against the Judiciary, indicate that the rule of law in Kenya is in tatters.

Kenya is going through a willful, premeditated, deliberate and shameless corruption of the system of justice, with the highest ranks of the Jubilee government supporting this assault on law and order.

We are witnessing unilateral and illegal decisions and statements that show disregard for the separation of powers and a taste for the old ways in which the Judiciary was an extension of the presidency and a tool of the ruling political elite.

It is a continuation of the pattern I warned of in November 2013, that the Jubilee government is determined to bring an end to all autonomous institutions in the country.

A pattern of a return to repression is taking shape. What is being attempted currently is to establish a country of presidential and legislative tyranny, and where no other institution in and out of the government will be allowed a voice.

It is unfortunate that the presidency has now explicitly and publicly endorsed this charade. I don’t agree that the Judiciary is seeking refuge in the doctrine of Separation of Powers.

I believe the alternative to adherence to this doctrine is the law of the jungle where one person can purport to perform the functions of president, judge and parliament at the same time. That is what is called a dictatorship.

I agree that the Judiciary alone cannot serve Kenyans. Neither can the Executive nor the legislature.

But the order of service to Kenyans by these institutions is clearly captured in the doctrine of Separation of Powers and it must be accepted and respected by all.

The understanding among all nations that aspire to democracy is that the Legislature makes the law, the Judiciary interprets the law and the Executive executes the law.

Once Parliament makes a law, the only option for citizens unhappy with it is to go to court. Once the court interprets the law, it is final. The only option is execution.

We are entering a dangerous terrain and I am appealing to the President of Kenya and all the arms of government to decide whether we are going to be governed by the Rule of Law or the law of the jungle. That is why I want to appeal for an immediate end to the mob lynching of the courts.The Court issued an injunction against the impeachment of Governor Wambora until the case he filed was heard and determined.

Mr Wambora had gone to court because he felt his right to be heard and to a fair trial had been breached. Both Houses of Parliament were served with court orders. That order was ignored.

The court last week barred the Senate from summoning governors who had sought an interpretation of the law on the powers of the senators over governors.

The two houses of Parliament have joined ranks in their condemnation of the Judiciary and they have now secured the support of the President.

This is a mob lynching of the court and a shameful display of arrogance to the rule of law by the very people who swore to uphold it. It must stop. We must keep our hands off our courts.

Late last year, we had a case of the President dissolving the Judicial Service Commission and appointing a commission of inquiry to investigate the conduct of members, despite a court order against the process.

The Aron Ringera-led inquiry failed to take off because it needed to be sworn in by the very Judiciary it intended to investigate. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga declined to swear it in.

The National Assembly however proceeded to summon members of the JSC in disregard of the principle of Separation of Powers and the desired independence of the Judiciary. That is how closely we are flirting with the law of the jungle.

We are witnessing the obstruction of justice, which the President and the entire government have sworn the most solemn oath to uphold. These actions are a blatant disregard for judicial independence, and deprive Kenya of its only buffer against chaos.

Last year, we in Cord went to court to challenge the election results. We still maintain that we never got a fair hearing. But we accepted the verdict because the alternative was chaos. If we want the rule of law, we must keep our hands off the courts. The president must take the lead.

The writer is CORD Leader and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya

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By Mzee Posted in kenya

One comment on “Jubilee Government Leading Assault on Rule of Law – Raila Odinga

  1. True, Uhuru is leading the country down a very dangerous path. The senate has ignored a court order and now seemingly have won the support of the president. Soon, everyone will ignore court orders and we shall be in anarchy. The fact that Uhuru made a response to this statement means the message hit home.

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