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Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga defends his tenure as Judiciary boss

By Moses Njagih | June 16th 2016
Retiring Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (L). He insists he is leaving the Judiciary better than he found it. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Retiring Chief Justice Willy Mutunga yesterday said he is leaving the Judiciary better than he found it.

Dr Mutunga, whose term as CJ and President of the Supreme Court ends today at midnight, defended himself against accusations that he has failed to reform the institution.

Mutunga, who was addressing the Senate, also defended the institution against accusations it is an “activist Judiciary”, saying the Constitution itself is  “activist by origin, design, text and intent”.

“I remain unapologetic for leading the institution in that path,” Mutunga said when he addressed the Senate where he also challenged senators to claim their right positions as statesmen, “as required of members of the Upper House”.

“It (Constitution) has almost eliminated or blurred the traditional activist-judicial restraint divide,” said Mutunga as he defended himself against accusations that he had introduced activism in the largely conservative institution.

Mutunga challenged the legislators to rise above the mere role of making laws to show leadership above their political and regional political interests.

“The place of the Senate in the future of this country will only be secured when it acts and behaves like the Upper House it was supposed to be, a House eminently capable of rising above the narrow partisan politics, a House capable of engaging beyond the ethnic lens of the Kenya politics, a House capable of debating real issues affecting Kenyans, devoid of narrow political interests,” said Dr Mutuga.

Mutunga, who appeared criticise the supremacy battle between Senate and the National Assembly said: “Worldwide, Senators always lead in the path of statesmanship as opposed to parochial battles.”

He challenged senators to fight against the forces of the “old order” which he said do not appreciate that the country has embraced a bicameral parliament.

Dr Mutunga also challenged senators to effectively play their role as the defenders of counties and county governments. He urged them to “advocate for the rights and entitlements of the counties as much as they can, against the national government”.

“This is a duty that calls for objectivity but not neutrality,” he said adding; “”I am also glad the Senate, for most part, even when it has disagreed with decision of the courts, have not yelled or hectored too much at the judges. It has instead accepted or appealed those decisions,” said Mutunga.

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