Raila Odinga Criticizes Recent State House Meeting

The Former PM and Current Leader of Opposition Alleged Executive’s Unadvisable Grip on Judiciary and Legislature

In a fiery address during an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) delegates meeting in Kilifi, Raila Odinga, the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader, accused President William Ruto of exerting undue influence over the Judiciary and Legislature. Odinga asserted that the recent meeting between President Ruto, Chief Justice Martha Koome, and Parliament officials at State House was an attempt to manipulate judges into compliance with executive directives.

“The meeting ought to have been conducted by neutral commissions and held in a neutral environment, not between heads of the government arms at the State House,” Odinga declared, emphasizing the need for independence in such discussions.

Odinga condemned the alleged rush in passing bills during Ruto’s presidency, claiming that due process was being overlooked. He compared the current legislative process unfavorably to previous administrations, where bills underwent thorough discussions and review by the Attorney General before adoption by the President.

“There’s no debate. You cannot discuss a Bill within two hours…and then they are passed the way they are without amendments and they go to the Executive and they sign it,” Odinga lamented, highlighting what he perceives as a lack of transparency and thorough examination of legislation.

The opposition leader argued for the involvement of neutral institutions in combating corruption within the judiciary, insisting that reforms should not be spearheaded by the executive, judiciary, or legislature.

“If there are reforms within the judiciary, then it must be done by neutral institutions. Not the executive, nor the judiciary, or the legislature,” Odinga stressed, underlining the importance of maintaining the independence of the judiciary in addressing corruption.

Odinga’s remarks followed the recent State House meeting, where President Ruto, Chief Justice Koome, and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula pledged to collaborate in tackling corruption across the three arms of government. President Ruto expressed determination to root out corruption using a “whole of government approach.”

However, not everyone shares Odinga’s perspective. The International Commission of Jurists Kenya cautioned Chief Justice Koome against participating in discussions that might compromise the judiciary’s autonomy in administering justice.

Lawyer John Khaminwa raised concerns about President Ruto’s involvement in judicial matters, stating, “No president has ever interfered with the judiciary.” He warned that such interference could lead to legal challenges in the future.

As the debate intensifies, it remains to be seen how these developments will impact the delicate balance between the executive, judiciary, and legislature in Kenya’s governance structure.


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