Accept criticism as it comes with the office, Uhuru tells CJ Maraga

Saturday December 16 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief Justice David Maraga

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief Justice David Maraga during the launch of the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Report 2016/2017 at the Supreme Court Building, on December 15, 2017. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday struck a reconciliatory tone towards the Judiciary as he urged them to take criticism positively.

Speaking at the Supreme Court during the launch of the state of the Judiciary report, President Kenyatta told the judges that criticism comes with the office, including his.

“I speak also from my experience as a politician. You also ought to accept that criticism comes with the office. Whether in the media, journals, public barazas, or social media and even from me, Kenyans will say what they have to say and most of the time it will not be flattering,” he said.

He added that such is democracy. “As I have learnt, one of the responses is simply to grow a thick skin, Mr CJ (Chief Justice David Maraga). And secondly, consult. Talk to people within the law but also hear the other side,” he said.

SCATHING ATTACK

The President had launched a scathing attack against the Judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, after the apex court nullified the August 8 presidential election.

He said then although he did not agree with the decision, he would abide by the order. He won the repeat poll on October 26, but which was boycotted by his main rival and Nasa candidate Raila Odinga.

Also present during the occasion were Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka, respectively, Attorney-General Githu Muigai, judges among other guests.

He said while exercising its mandate, the Judiciary must be mindful of the effects of its actions on other arms of government and Kenyans. “Any decision that negatively affects the desires for a better life for every Kenyan, should be carefully interrogated before being undertaken,” he said.

MYSTERY

President Kenyatta said the administration of justice should not be shrouded in mystery that only a few understand. He urged the arms of the government to work together towards the realisation of justice. He promised that the Judiciary will be assisted to implement its programmes.

Mr Maraga said the government remained a major litigant in courts, mainly as a defendant but occasionally as a plaintiff. “The government comes to us just like any other party before court. And so we will continue ruling in its favour some times, and against it on other occasions as guided by the law and the evidence before us,” he said.

“Consultation between organs of government is a constitutional principle and should not be construed to mean interference,” he said, adding that Judiciary must constantly engage and make Kenyans aware of its achievements as well as its role in protecting and promoting them.

Mr Maraga said the government remains a major litigant in courts, mainly as a defendant but occasionally as a plaintiff.

GOOD CASE

“As far as the Judiciary is concerned, the government comes to us just like any other party before court. And so we will continue ruling in its favour some times, and against it on other occasions as guided by the law and the evidence placed before us,” he said.

He said that when the government has a good case, there is no reason whatsoever why the courts should not rule in its favour. “But when the government has a bad case, or it bungles in its prosecution or defence, we should not be expected to rule in its favour,” he said.