Malalah defends Ruto's stance on Judiciary, accuses Raila of dictatorship

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary General Cleophas Malalah. [David Njaaga,Standard]

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary General Cleophas Malalah has slammed Azimio leader Raila Odinga for criticising President William Ruto’s stance on the Judiciary.

 In a statement on Thursday, January 13, Malalah accused Odinga of lying to Kenyans and the world that he is the champion of democracy and good governance, claiming he has been fighting for his own selfish interests.

 “Raila has never fought for liberty for any Kenyan, but has always hidden behind the facade of fighting for the downtrodden victims of injustices and dictatorship by those in power,” Malalah said.

 He also challenged Raila to reveal what his “cut” is in attempting to derail the fight against corruption, including within judicial circles, by President Ruto.

 “Raila lacks the moral ground and authority to lecture anyone - least of them President Ruto - on how to rule and exercise power bestowed on him through a popular vote. He has never won a presidential election or run a country to warrant guiding anyone on how to rule,” Malalah added.

 Malalah’s statement comes a day after Odinga came to the defence of the judiciary, responding to what he perceives as President Ruto’s onslaught, saying the president’s entire political career has been preserved by the courts.

 Speaking in Mombasa, Odinga said they will prevent Ruto from leading the country into an era of dictatorship.

 He termed the outburst by the President on Tuesday as “unacceptable,” terming it a sign of an “impending absolute dictatorship” in the nation.

 He recalled an era in previous regimes where he said the Judiciary had been captured to follow the whims of the Executive, as he vowed to lead a resistance against attacks on the judicial system.

 “In other words, Ruto wants to establish an absolute dictatorship. Kenyans know we have been here before. We have seen days when judges heard cases in the dead of the night, way past official working hours and sent opponents of the State to jail. Kenyans know we have seen days when judges got transferred, sacked or, even got poisoned for delivering rulings that did not favour the State,” he said.

 “The current level of political and personal attacks on the Judiciary by Mr Ruto is therefore completely unacceptable. Ruto has crossed the line and we will not allow it.”

 According to the Azimio chief, the utterances by the Head of State serve to intimidate the Judiciary so that judges can always rule in favour of the administration.

 “This is about where Ruto wishes to take Kenya and what it means for Kenyans. Having captured Parliament, Ruto now wants to intimidate, subdue and capture the Judiciary. He wants Judges not to hear cases against his policies, dismiss such cases or always rule in his favour,” he stated.

 Odinga further accused the President of betraying the Judiciary a year after the same institution upheld his election victory, thereby handing him keys to the kingdom.

President William Ruto  responded to the criticism from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on his stance on constitutionalism and the independence of the Judiciary.

In a statement by State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed on Wednesday, January 3, Ruto turned down the advice from LSK on Judiciary emphasising the ongoing efforts to rectify past injustices and condemning all forms of impunity.

LSK had earlier accused the President of undermining the autonomy of the Judiciary by interfering with the appointment of judges and the budget allocation for the courts.

It also claimed that the President was using his Executive powers to influence the outcome of corruption cases involving his allies and associates.

However, Ruto dismissed the allegations as baseless, saying that he has “consistently championed upholding the rule of law and constitutional principles, with a particular emphasis on safeguarding the independence of the Judiciary.”