Respect the Judiciary, CJ Willy Mutunga tells leaders

Dr Mutunga said the Judiciary has been unfairly insulted and condemned by some leaders.

Friday March 11 2016

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (left) and Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya (centre) listen to Attorney-General Githu Muigai at Enashipai Spa Hotel in Naivasha March 10, 2016.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (left) and Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya (centre) listen to Attorney-General Githu Muigai at Enashipai Spa Hotel in Naivasha March 10, 2016. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has urged leaders to respect the independence of the Judiciary and the Constitution to allow proper and fair administration of justice.

Dr Mutunga also warned that the hypocritical nature of some leaders had led to the creation of some weak clauses in the Constitution.

He said this had led to challenges in the implementation of devolution as envisaged.

“I see individuals who, when in positions of comfort and power, viciously attack the independence of the Judiciary and the Constitution accusing the two, rather parochially, that they are too strong and “activist”.

“Yet, too often, these individuals dash to the same 'activist' Constitution and Judiciary to seek protection and validation when they fall afoul to the law,” the Chief Justice said.

Dr Mutunga, who was speaking at the Enashipai Lodge in Naivasha during the second Annual National Council on the Administration of Justice, said the Judiciary has been unfairly insulted and condemned by some leaders even though it provides a fallback when they land into trouble.

Said Dr Mutunga: “They forget about the insults they have been throwing before, invoke the 'activists' provisions with abandon and thank the judges for having backbones to stand up for evil and dictatorial forces,” he said.

He said some MPs who took part in the Constitution-making process intentionally watered down because of parochialism key provisions that could have helped cement devolution.

'LOWER HOUSE'

Said Dr Mutunga: “It is this parochialism that led Members of Parliament who were members of the Constitution-making process to water down the provisions of the Senate.

“(They even called it a Lower House) only to end up there and discover they don’t like what they created.”

He added that the same MPs also resisted the provision of a minimum ceiling of 15 per cent for county governments and having become governors, they have changed tune.

“Now, they don’t like the size of the envelope they ended up with. A clear exhibit “A” of the self-immortalising danger of the elite parochialism,” said Dr Mutunga.

He urged governors and all institutions involved to ensure devolution worked, arguing that county governments should be fully recognised as they had a major role to play in the devolution structure that could be underestimated.

At the same time, the Judiciary on Thursday announced that Dr Mutunga had gazetted a task force mandated to develop a policy on adopting into into the formal justice system traditional, informal and other mechanisms used to access justice in Kenya.

“The move is in line with the Constitution that provides for alternative forms of dispute resolution mechanisms, including traditional approaches, as long as they do not contravene the Bill of Rights, are not repugnant to justice or morality or inconsistent with the Constitution or any written law."

The 19-member task force, whose secretariat will be based at the Judiciary Training Institute, is chaired by Justice Joel Ngugi.

The other members are Justice Joseph Sergon, Clara Otieno-Omondi, Florence Macharia, Peter Mulwa and Joan Irura, among others.

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