Raila Odinga condemns Matiang’i's attack on Judiciary

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a past event. (File, Standard)
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hit at Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i for attacking the Judiciary.

Raila says Dr. Matiang’i’s utterances in parliament on Tuesday castigating judges were reckless and smacks of impunity.

Dr Matiang’I was appearing before the House Committee on Administration and National Security in the wake of the Miguna Miguna deportation saga.

“As a Cabinet Secretary of this Republic, this outburst by Dr Matiang’i was highly irresponsible and reckless. It is unethical and irresponsible for a Cabinet Secretary to publicly denigrate another arm of government and to refer to judges as ‘evil’,” Raila said in a statement.

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The ODM leader said if Dr Matiang’i had evidence against the judges he was attacking, the responsible thing to do was to register his complaint and present his evidence to the Judicial Service Commission.

“The JSC has the constitutional mandate to pursue issues of unethical behaviour of judges. Dr Matiang’i equally has room to challenge the decisions of any court in a superior court through established channels of appeal.”

The opposition leader said the conduct of the CS was slap in the face on the now famous handshake he had with President Uhuru Kenyatta last month in which they  promised Kenyans that they will use our social and political platforms to foster reconciliation and unity among Kenyans.

“I was therefore very distraught to see our Cabinet Secretary of Interior Dr Matiang’i, live on national television making virulent attacks on the Judiciary and on specific members of the bench. Using language that should not be on the lips of a State officer, Dr. Matiang’i attacked what he perceived to be his enemies including his predecessors who are unfortunately long dead.”

Raila also cautioned parliament saying it should not allow itself to be a platform for State officers to make attacks on other arms of government.

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“In any case, the CS appeared before Parliament to answer questions pertaining to abuse of rights of citizens and undermining the rule of law. Instead, he came out as the personification of impunity. Parliament should not allow itself to be a platform for State officers to make attacks on other arms of government.”

The ODM leader said it was also unfair for the minister to attack some of his predecessors who are long dead, urging him to, instead, correct the mistakes he was pointing at.

On Tuesday, Dr. Matiang’i told the committee on Administration and National Security that former Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’, now deceased, had irregularly issued a passport and ID to lawyer Miguna Miguna.

“If the CS feels that his predecessors in office did not carry out their work in a way that is satisfactory, he is the Cabinet Secretary now. He should correct what he believes is a mistake and change the processes of the Ministry so that those mistakes do not compromise the State. But he should not treat Kenyans to the drama that he played out yesterday before members of the National Assembly,” Raila said in the hard-hitting statement.    

Raila said in their joint statement to the nation after their famous handshake, they urged every leader and every Kenyan to embrace the responsibilities they know to be theirs and help the nation reconcile and make progress but Dr Matiang’i failed terribly in this on Tuesday.

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“We have just come from the longest, most dramatic political period in Kenya’s history. Every leader should know that and should behave and talk in ways that will help Kenyans re-focus on the problems we have in a sober and rational manner rather than worsen them. The politics and leadership of chest-thumping, fear-mongering, hate and division must end in Kenya.”

On Tuesday the CS claimed five judicial officers had been held captive and were colluding with activists and sections of the civil society in an ‘unholy alliance’ to embarrass the Executive.

“There is an evil clique of judicial officers who are keen to drag us by the collar and take us through trial by the public court. They are determined to ensure that the Executive does not perform,” Matiang’i told the MPs.

Raila OdingaFred Matiang’iMiguna Migunajudiciary