Senior lawyer sues AG Muturi over Ruto's attack on Judiciary

Attorney General Justin Muturi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Lawyer John Khaminwa has dragged Attorney General Justin Muturi to court as he seeks to tame the Executive from ‘intimidating’ the Judiciary.

Dr Khaminwa, in his case filed before the High Court, stated that despite President Wiliam Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua alleging that the Judiciary is corrupt, no evidence has been produced to justify the claims.

He argued that the outbursts by the politicians has dented the confidence that Kenyans have on judges and magistrates to fairly resolve disputes.

“By making such comments, the public and State officers are casting doubt on the integrity of the Judiciary thus lowering the respect the Judiciary has in the eyes of the citizens of the republic. No evidence has been presented to substantiate the said comments and were made with malice as a result of judgments made by the Judiciary against the government of the day,”  he argued.  

In the case, the senior lawyer attached newspaper excerpts to demonstrate the onslaught against the Judiciary.

He asserted that despite Chief Justice Martha Koome challenging the presidency to justify its claims by filing petitions for removal of judges from office, none has been filed to date. 

Khaminwa now wants the court to find that the AG failed to advice the president and his lieutenants not to attack the Judiciary.

Protect judges

He said that the AG, who is also a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), ought to have protected judges and magistrates as employees of the commission.

In January, Koome told off Ruto over his attacks on the Judiciary, challenging him to table evidence of corruption against judicial officers. 

The CJ warned that Ruto’s threat to ignore adverse court orders and his blanket allegations of corruption amounted to an overthrow of the Constitution.

She challenged Ruto to follow the constitutional process of tabling complaints against judicial officers, stating that the JSC, which she heads, was ready to handle petitions against corrupt judges.

“Such complaints must be lodged and processed in the manner prescribed by the Constitution. 

“The commission will only act on the basis of evidence and not on blanket statements or allegations that have not been substantiated,” said Koome.

In court, Khaminwa argued that the call for defiance and claims of corruption were meant to steal a match on the Judiciary.

According to him, the overall expectation by the Executive was to have judges chicken out in order to give rulings and judgments in favour of the Kenya Kwanza regime.

He further stated that the AG ought to have informed Ruto and his allies about separation of powers and judicial independence.

According to him, the Executive cannot control judges.

“The action of castigating the Judiciary by members of public and State officers is, in my view, unconstitutional for it offends the provisions of Article 10 of the Constitution,” he said. 

The Judiciary and the Executive were embroiled in a war of words after judges halted President Ruto’s pet projects.

The president had claimed that alleged beneficiaries of corruption were using their influence to thwart crucial development projects for the maintenance of the status quo.

“It is not possible that we respect the Judiciary while a few individuals who are beneficiaries of corruption are using corrupt judicial officials to block our development projects,” Ruto said. “We are a democracy, we respect and will protect the independence of the Judiciary. What we will not allow is judicial tyranny and judicial impunity.”