Senator Challenges President Ruto to Provide Evidence of Judicial Bribery

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging President William Ruto to substantiate his recent claims of judicial bribery in cases related to the Affordable Housing Levy and the Social Insurance Fund. Senator Omtatah, who is himself a litigant in one of these cases, vehemently denies any involvement in bribery and asserts that he has no knowledge of fellow litigants attempting to sway a judge for a favorable ruling.

In a press conference held on Friday, Senator Omtatah acknowledged the President’s right to voice concerns but challenged him to leverage intelligence resources to uncover instances of corruption within the judiciary. “Directly, I challenge him to provide concrete evidence of any judge taking bribes or any litigant offering bribes. Let the truth come to light,” Omtatah declared.

President Ruto has dominated headlines since Tuesday, declaring his intent to disregard court-issued stay orders and push ahead with critical projects like Affordable Housing and the Social Health Insurance Act. This stance has drawn strong reactions from the opposition and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), warning against what they perceive as a disregard for the constitution and a potential move toward dictatorship.

Accusing unnamed judicial officials of conspiring with corruption cartels to thwart government initiatives, President Ruto vowed to dismantle such networks. Senator Omtatah, known for his activism, insinuated that the President’s allegations posed a significant threat to judicial independence and may be a strategic maneuver to influence the judiciary in favor of his pet projects.

Casting doubt on Ruto’s claims of judicial corruption, Omtatah suggested that the allegations might be a tactic to intimidate the judiciary. “It appears that the President lacks concrete evidence against those he has accused of bribery. If he did, he would have handed the matter over to law enforcement for action instead of addressing it publicly,” Omtatah remarked.

Expressing his belief that the current state of affairs is unsustainable, Senator Omtatah called on the President to abandon what he described as a “destructive path,” reminiscent of the turmoil during the 2007/2008 post-election violence when confidence in the judiciary was severely eroded. Omtatah implored the President to apologize to the judiciary and seek forgiveness from the public-spirited Kenyans and institutions challenging his projects in court.

“He cannot afford to be intoxicated by power and behave recklessly. The same applies to his assertion that he will flout court orders or, in essence, suspend the constitution and govern by executive decree,” Omtatah warned.

According to Omtatah, the President’s attack on the judiciary is an attempt to shift blame for the failures of his policies onto third parties. “It is clear that any attempt to govern this country outside the boundaries of the law will face staunch resistance. The President should not underestimate this. Regardless of the circumstances, the serpent’s eggs will not be allowed to hatch,” he declared.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, who chairs the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), has urged judges and judicial officers to remain firm and discharge their duties. President Ruto, in his Tuesday address, emphasized the need for respecting the judiciary’s independence and called for a national dialogue to address perceived judicial misconduct and settle political disputes.

In recent developments, the High Court halted the enforcement and implementation of the Social Health Insurance Fund Act 2023, the Primary Health Care Act 2023, and the Digital Health Act 2023, pending a legal challenge to their legality. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) obtained court orders preventing the government’s planned rollout of universal health coverage outlined in these laws. Despite the President’s announcement of the rollout in January, the High Court suspended the planned implementation of the Social Health Insurance Act 2023 by the Ministry of Health until February 2024.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *