Lawyers slam Ruto for attack on Judiciary

 President William Ruto. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Barely 24 hours after President William Ruto attacked the Judiciary for hindering the implementation of his projects, a section of lawyers have criticised the Head of State over his remarks.

Speaking at the funeral of the father of Nyandarua Senator John Methu in Njabini, President Ruto alleged a scheme by a few individuals who  bribe judges to halt key development projects across the country through court orders.

“We will protect the independence of the Judiciary,” he said. “But we will not allow judicial tyranny and impunity." 

Responding swiftly to his sentiments, critics have cautioned Ruto against imposing a tyrannical leadership style by following up on his threat to bypass directions from courts of law so that he can implement his government’s agenda such as the affordable housing project and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Prominent lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi took to X to advise Ruto to prioritize judicial reforms when he took power.

"The President must obey court orders issued by corrupt/bribe-taking judges. But he can/must remove corrupt/bribe-taking judges from the judiciary,” he stated.

Throwing his weight behind the matter that topped trends on X, law Professor Makau Mutua also called for comprehensive reforms in the judiciary instead of defying court orders.

“It is not just the judges who are corrupt. It’s a web and an ecosystem of corruption involving ministers and senior civil servants, lawyers, legislators, and businesspeople,” The Havard Law School alumnus posted. 

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) National Council Member Hiet Njoki Mboce accused President Ruto of calling for an overthrow of the constitutional order and inviting anarchy.”

The advocate reminded Ruto that it was the same Judiciary that upheld his 2022 election and declared him president. 

She further challenged the Commander-in-Chief to present evidence of corruption in judicial decisions to the relevant constitutional organs such as the Judicial Service Commission, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

“Such podium declarations are naked threats to judges, the rule of law, and express provisions of the Constitution. This is a clear hallmark of authoritarianism. Kenya is not a dictatorship,” the litigator wrote. 

Siaya Governor James Orengo termed the President’s remarks as "infamy to our constitutional order" and urged his office to resort to legal mechanisms of overturning judicial decisions obtained by fraud or for cleaning a rogue judiciary.

Lawyer Omwanza Ombati sought to remind the president that his oath of office is not merely a ceremonial pledge but a solemn vow to respect and uphold the Constitution at all times.

Netizens have also since called on Chief Justice Martha Koome's response to the attack on judicial independence.