September 22nd 2017

Top Stories / National

CJ Maraga tells off President Kenyatta and top Jubilee politicians over Baringo remarks

The CJ further goes to say “this is consistent with my Oath of Office as the CJ of the Republic of Kenya, and forms the foundations of the independent and robust judiciary that is neutral arbiter, not only in political disputes but also in matters of justice in general.”

By Athanas Kipchumbaakipchumba@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 10 Jul 2017 18:23 EAT

Chief Justice David Maraga

Chief Justice David Maraga has dismissed the accusations by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Jubilee Party that he is scheming behind the curtains to rig the next poll in favor of NASA torch-bearer Mr Odinga.

The president of the Supreme Court of Kenya has come out guns blazing terming as baseless and unfortunate statement attributed to President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and other Jubilee leaders.

“These accusations are particularly unfortunate, based as they are on completely wrong premises,” said the CJ in a statement.

The Country’s top Judge vehemently rubbished the claims pointing to the perceptions that he has stopped ‘nefariously’ the poll agency from proceeding in the tendering of the ballot papers printing. The Chief Justice furthermore said that the comments he made in Mombasa and elsewhere were quoted out of context; because he was simply referring to the court’s effort to speedily clear the umpteenth petitions arising from the party primaries with a view to avoid inconveniencing the printing of the ballot papers.

“At no time did I ask the IEBC not to proceed with ballot printing…The comments I made in Mombasa and elsewhere, which were neither deliberately or inadvertently taken out of context, were in reference to the court’s effort to expeditiously clear the numerous petitions arising from the party primaries in order to inconvenience the printing of ballot papers,” said the Judge in a statement.

Chief Justice Maraga said he had oftentimes been taking the driver’s seat in defending the cardinal principle of decisional independence of judges and at no time had he ever directed any judge or judicial officer on how to determine cases before them.

The CJ further goes to say “this is consistent with my Oath of Office as the CJ of the Republic of Kenya, and forms the foundations of the independent and robust judiciary that is neutral arbiter, not only in political disputes but also in matters of justice in general.”

“We in the judiciary are open to constructive engagements, including being criticized. However when political leaders cast aspersions on the administration of justice based on misinterpretation of my statements, it has the potential to impair public confidence in our courts…” read the CJ’s statement in part.

The president of the Supreme Court of Kenya repeated and assured Kenyans that Judiciary will continue making its judgements on the basis of the constitution, law and evidence before it.

Addressing a political rally in Baringo county yesterday, the President, his Deputy and other jubilee leaders made remarks to the effect that the CJ is working with the NASA wing of the political axis to unleash interminable frustrations upon the beleaguered electoral body with the intention of making the Teflon man of the Kenyan politics the 5th President.

“Let me tell those in charge of the courts that we respect you, but that doesn’t make us cowards. We’re not afraid of you. We are tired of you…” the Jubilee presidential candidate said in Baringo.

In somewhat similar version, the straight-shooting politician and Deputy President William Ruto challenged the CJ to openly tell Kenyans if indeed he’s ready for the August 8th election, or he [Maraga] ’s part of those “games to scuttle the exercise.”

It’s interesting to note that the electoral agency’s process of tendering the printing of ballot papers has been challenged by the Opposition axis of the political divide in the courts while the ruling coalition which demonstrably sides with the embattled IEBC has always come to its defense. The awarding of the tender in question has been a subject of fierce court battle pitting the IEBC, jubilee against NASA.

In a nutshell, the poll agency has, more than once been dealt a blow by the courts. On why the jubilee party is throwing its weight fully behind the illegality enmeshing the tendering of the ballot papers printing remains a food for thought. Or is very revealing.

Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press





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