We will not be cowed, judges and magistrates say

Judges and Magistrates now say they will not be intimidated as they carry out their duties, despite consistent attacks from the political elite.

The Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) President Justice Radido Stephen Okiyo on Thursday said the attacks on the Judiciary “appear to be systematically planned, executed and amplified by leaders of a certain persuasion.”

Okiyo added that KMJA had noted a spirited campaign by a section of leaders meant to incite and advocate for the disobedience of Court orders.

“In the most recent attacks, an elected leader mobilised and led a gang to destroy property which is still the subject of litigation before the Courts in Eldoret; while another politician made unsubstantiated claims of corruption against a judge handling a dispute in Nakuru,” said Justice Radido.

He claimed that some of the attacks were being led by an officer of the court whom he said ought to know how ongoing court cases should be handled.

KMJA President cautioned the Executive and Members of Parliament, saying that they have abused the mandate entrusted to them by using the social sphere to make disparaging comments against the Judiciary.

He said that leaders should remember that the positions they hold are in the trust of Kenyans and they must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the dignity and oath of office expected of State and public officers.

“The judiciary as collective and individual judges have constitutionally guaranteed rights and responsibilities that they will not fear to exercise in defence of the Constitution.”

KJMA will not hesitate to take the necessary steps including applying contempt of court orders against individuals it feels are on a campaign to defeat the sovereign will of the people as delegated to the judiciary, Justice Radido reiterated.

According to the Judge, the political class should respect the independence of the Judiciary, warning that reckless comments and conduct may lead to the crumbling of institutions, that could usher Kenya into a state of anarchy and lawlessness.

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