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President, CJ meeting not a forum to consider integrity of judges – LSK VP

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Vice President of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Faith Odhiambo has criticized the decision by Chief Justice Martha Koome to meet President William Ruto in the wake of allegations that some judicial officers have been compromised.

The LSK deputy said the meeting, which she described as unsuitable and unaccountable, was not the correct forum to discuss the integrity of the Judiciary or the conduct of specific judges.

Odhiambo is concerned that by agreeing to meet the President, the CJ seemed to validate recent claims by the head of state that the judiciary has rogue elements.

“To oblige to the President’s outburst compromises the work of the Judicial Service Commission, infringes on the independence of the judiciary, and is outright absurd,” she said

She said the situation now puts the Chief Justice in an awkward position of informally addressing the integrity of judicial officers concerning matters that she could be called upon to consider if formal complaints arise.

“The Chief Justice, among other roles, serves as the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission, a constitutionally established body mandated to, among other things, oversee disciplinary action against judges and judicial officers,” she said

“A meeting between the Chief Justice and the President is not a forum for consideration of the integrity of the judiciary or conduct of judges and cannot fulfill these requirements,” she reiterated

Odhiambo who is vying to become the President of LSK in the upcoming elections says the meeting on Monday presents a significant test to the Chief Justice’s leadership and her commitment to upholding judicial independence.