Nairobi — A consortium of human rights groups has asked the Executive and the Legislature to respect the independence of the judiciary in the wake of the sustained criticism directed at the courts following the High Court ruling that outlawed the BBI Constitutional amendment process.
A five-judge bench ruled Thursday that President Uhuru Kenyatta violated the Constitution, particularly Chapter 6, when he initiated the process following his handshake with former Prime minister Raila Odinga with whom he promoted the process.
The groups led by the Kenya Human Rights Commission ( KHRC) said the Judiciary should not be subjected to the control or direction of any person adding that the separation of powers in the arms of government aims to safeguard it against abuse of power.
“The Executive and Parliament must be reminded that the constitutional guarantees of judicial independence are non-derogable and are recognised by international and regional standards and norms. We shall continue to defend judicial independence and we will continue to speak out against personal attacks of judicial officers,” said David Malombe, the Director of KHRC when the group addressed a news conference Thursday.
Other activists were drawn from – Defenders Coalition, Transparency International Kenya, Independent Medico-Legal Unit, The Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists, Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi, CRECO, Haki Africa, Social Justice Centres Working Group, Crown Trust, Muhuri, Katiba Institute, KLM, Linda Katiba and Kenya Tuitakayo Movement.
The activists said the continued attacks against the Judiciary and the blatant disobedience of court orders was a time bomb,and have warned that if left to continue it will erode the indpendence of the Judiciary.
They also asked President Kenyatta to expedite the appointment of the 40 Judges of the Court of Appeal.
While supporting the ruling that has since put the BBI process into jeopardy, the activists urged the Auditor General to swing into action and conduct an audit of all public resources that were utilized in the BBI process and prepare and report for the public.
“Despite the numerous and overwhelming concerns on the legality, feasibility and sincerity of the BBI process, the promoters and political leaders including the Executive have continuously utilised taxpayer’s money to support the highly controversial process,” they said.
The five Judges of the High Court: Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita faulted the Executive for utilizing public resources on an “illegal process.”
The Artoney General, the BBI Secretariat and the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) are all set to appeal the ruling.
The state is offended by the ruling that declared that President Kenyatta illegally initiated the constitutional ammendment process, IEBC is also offended by a declaration that it has no quorum and that it ought not have validated the BBI signatures.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has urged calm and restraint amid escalating personal attacks on judges.