Governors criticise new law giving President appointment powers

He said the move will undermine Judiciary's independence.

Wednesday January 6 2016

Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya delivers his speech at the Meru County Assembly on December 3, 2015. He pointed out that the changes to the Judicial Service Act introduced by the Justice and the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly will affect the independent role of the Judiciary. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya delivers his speech at the Meru County Assembly on December 3, 2015. He pointed out that the changes to the Judicial Service Act introduced by the Justice and the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly will affect the independent role of the Judiciary. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AGNES ABOO
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Governors have criticised a new law giving the President powers to appoint top judges and police officers.

Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya on Tuesday pointed out that the changes to the Judicial Service Act introduced by the Justice and the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly will affect the independent role of the Judiciary.

“The current Chief Justice was appointed under the new Constitution and it is the Judicial Service Commission that recommended his name. Why do we require a change where we have to have several names presented?

“The independence of the Judiciary is very critical for the stability and development of a country. Any indication that its independence is being muzzled will never be taken kindly,” said the Meru governor.

Mr Munya spoke at the county government offices during the distribution of food for orphans and needy people.

He indicated that for a long time, there has been a history of misuse of the Judiciary by the Executive, adding that the system to appoint the Chief Justice should remain.

“When I say this, I don’t mean the current Executive intends to misuse the Judiciary. Not at all. But as much as we trust the current leadership, we don’t know what kind of person will occupy that office in future.

“When we make laws, always think of the worst case scenario, don’t just think about the best case scenario. Because laws are intended to take care of worst case scenarios.

“We do not know what new regime will be there tomorrow that will use those new instruments of power to undermine the Judiciary and therefore undermine the rights of Kenyans,” he said.

A CENTRAL ROLE
Changes to the Judicial Service Act give the President a bigger say in the appointment of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice.

At the same time, Mr Munya has publicly declared his interest to vie for the presidency in 2022.

“We will not be looking to vie for the Deputy President’s position seat come 2022. We will be looking for the topmost seat. That of the President,” said Mr Munya.

Mr Munya’s announcement is set to send tongues wagging after he announced that he was waiting for the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) to be dissolved to announce his new party, on which he will vie on.

He threatened to ditch the party over wrangles, which he claimed were fuelled by the top leadership.

Mr Munya, however, reiterated his support for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto in 2017.

“We are, however, asking the president and his deputy to continue working and fulfil the pledges they made especially for the Meru region,” he said.

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