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Stop crippling Judiciary, Ford Kenya leaders tell President

By Robert Amalemba | Mar 13th 2022 | 3 min read

From left, MP Chris Wamalwa, Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula, Khwisero MP Christopher Aseka, Kakamega Woman Representation Elsie Muhanda and MP Omboko Milemba during the burial service of the late Keziah Muchelule at Mukumu in Shinyalu on March 12, 2021. The late was wife to Justice Aggrey Muchelule. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba and former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of undermining the Judiciary.

Speaking during the burial of Justice Aggrey Muchelule’s wife, Keziah Amimo, in Kakamega, the leaders regretted that the president had refused to promote some judges including Muchelule, despite the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) proposing their names.

“Please Mr President don’t give yourself powers that you don’t have. The JSC proposed names of judges to be appointed in the court of appeal but you have declined to appoint them even after a bench ruled that you appoint them,” said Wetang’ula.

“That is a wrong precedent which will be undone by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance when we get to power,” he added.

Last year, the JSC proposed 40 names to President Uhuru asking him to appoint them to the bench, but he declined to appoint six of them.

The others were judges Joel Ngugi, George Odunga and Weldon Korir, alongside registrar of the High Court Judith Omange and Chief Magistrate Evans Makori.

Wetang’ula said the gesture by President Uhuru was in bad light, given that the Judiciary performed a pivotal role in government.

“We saw what the Supreme Court did the other day by overturning an election just to show how pivotal it is. It, therefore, needs not to be interfered with by anyone,” he said.

Mr Milemba regretted that by the president refusing to appoint the six judges, he was dehumanizing them because judges, too, had feelings.

“Take the case of my brother Muchelule; his name was rejected when he was taking care of his ailing wife in India. I bet the act created unnecessary pressure on him. He merits the promotion and we shouldn’t punish hard work,” said Mr Milemba.

The leaders aligned to Kenya Kwanza equally lamented over what they termed selective application of the law surrounding what is perceived as hate speech.

They said that when Meru Senator Mithika Linturi uttered words suspected to be divisive and hateful, the police quickly rounded him up, but the same police were slow to act when Raila Odinga uttered similar words during a recent tour.

They argued that it took intervention from the Judiciary to find the Linturi accusation baseless and save him from a biased application of the law.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu eulogised Ms Amimo as a strong woman who battled her illness bravely.

“I will keep praying for Judge Muchelule and family to be strong in this difficult time,” she said.

The funeral was attended by lawyers and judicial staff from different parts of the country.

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