LSK Challenge Executive-Judiciary Dialogue, Citing Constitutional Concerns

Lawyers in Mombasa are expressing skepticism over recent calls for dialogue between the Executive and the Judiciary, deeming it unconstitutional. The controversy arises after President William Ruto’s invitation to Chief Justice Martha Koome for a dialogue concerning his allegations of corruption within the Judiciary.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has strongly advised Chief Justice Koome against participating in the proposed dialogue, with LSK President Eric Theuri stating that such calls for discussion are misplaced and lack constitutional grounding. He urged the Chief Justice not to succumb to the Executive’s pressure and described the dialogue as unwarranted.

This stance was reinforced during a protest march around the Mombasa Law Courts led by Theuri and attended by lawyers and human rights activists. The LSK president took the opportunity to condemn Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s recent verbal attack on the Judiciary, characterizing it as reckless and indicative of a lack of understanding of the responsibilities associated with public office.

Theuri highlighted the importance of the Public Offices Ethics Act, emphasizing that public officers’ actions and statements should uphold the honor and respect of their positions. He expressed concern over Gachagua’s announcement of an impending petition seeking the removal of a judge, urging the Deputy President to adhere to established mechanisms for making complaints against judicial officers.

The LSK president voiced displeasure at the perceived humiliation of a judge by the Deputy President, labeling it regrettable and contrary to the expected behavior from the Executive. He called for a withdrawal of the statements made by President Ruto and Deputy President Gachagua, stating that such remarks undermine the integrity of the Judiciary.

Theuri asserted that the Chief Justice should not engage in dialogue under the current circumstances. Instead, he urged President Ruto to retract his remarks and issue an apology to the Kenyan people. The LSK president emphasized that conducting a dialogue in the wake of such statements would perpetuate the perception of corruption and undue influence on the Judiciary.

He stressed the detrimental impact of the Executive’s comments on investor confidence in the Judiciary’s ability to remain impartial and resolve disputes based on legal principles. Theuri vowed that the LSK would consistently defend the independence of the Judiciary and hold it accountable.

Mombasa LSK Chairperson Natasha Ali emphasized the equality of the three arms of government, advocating for mutual respect among them. Zedekiah Adika, Chairperson of the Coast Civil Society Network for Human Rights, declared that attacks on the Judiciary by Deputy President Gachagua are non-negotiable, emphasizing the obligation of all Kenyans to uphold the rule of law.

Amnesty International Mombasa weighed in, asserting that the Constitution of 2010 liberated the nation from tyranny and empowered the people. The organization emphasized the Judiciary’s role in leading democracy and condemned attacks by one arm of the government on another.

The legal community’s united front against perceived attacks on the independence of the Judiciary was evident in nationwide protests last Friday. The LSK expressed satisfaction that their position has resonated with the public, urging the Executive to refrain from treating the Judiciary as a subordinate entity under the Constitution of Kenya.


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