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Muturi: Parliament will not honour “idiotic and unreasonable” court orders

By JULIAN KAMAU | April 28th 2015

Nairobi, Kenya: National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi Monday defended the Legislature against the attack by Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga, declaring that MPs will not honour any “idiotic and unreasonable” orders from the courts.

Responding to the strong criticism that his arm of Government - the Legislature - had suffered from Mutunga, who heads the Judiciary, a hard-hitting Muturi said that while Parliament is keen on respecting Judiciary, it will not entertain any orders from the courts that cannot be enforced and appear to be issued in vain.

“We want to respect court orders, and we have respected very many of them. But I do not understand how we are to obey every order, however idiotic or unconstitutional,” declared Muturi.

A seemingly agitated Muturi added: “We are asking judges that before they issue their orders, they convince themselves that the same can be effected. They must pass the test of reasonableness… They should ensure that their orders are not in vain. Courts should issue injunctions only when they are convinced that parties seeking the same are at risk of suffering irreparable damages”.

He denied accusations that members of his House were keen on intimidating judicial officers, saying they were only responding to the “absurd and unreasonable orders emanating from the courts”.

He ironically said that the trend that the courts had taken could soon see a judicial officer even ordering President from leaving the country for an international duty on grounds that someone has moved to court to stop such a travel.

Muturi said courts might go to lengths of stopping the Legislature from handling its independent calendar, or even stop the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from auditing the spending of government institutions as stipulated in the law.

“Judicial authority is only derived from the people but it does not represent the will of the people. Judiciary does not exercise sovereignty, but Parliament does. Parliament of Kenya is not anything that can be wished away,” he said.

Budget cut

The Speaker defended the National Assembly’s decision to slash the development budget of the Judiciary by Sh500 million, which Mutunga claimed was meant to intimidate the judicial officers, claiming it was only taken to settle other “compelling requirements” in other deserving institutions.

“What Judiciary is not telling Kenyans is that it was unable to absorb the entire amount that it had been granted for those projects in the last financial year. Why should Parliament continue adding more funds to the institution when there are other compelling requirements in other institutions keen on spending the money?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Justice and Legal Affairs committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga defended the decision to reallocate the Sh500 million saying the money was channeled to strengthen the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the critical areas in the justice system.

He said the reduction was based on the professional advice from the Parliamentary Budget Office and dispelled claims by Mutunga that this will cripple human resource in the Judiciary, as it was only from the development expenditure.

 “The amount that was reduced from their budget was channeled to the prosecution department and the state law office which play a critical role in the justice system within the country. The judiciary can’t start crying wolf over the matter that has been in the public domain that there is an imbalance within the justice sector- human resource department,” said Chepkonga.

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