Deputy President William Ruto has decried the decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to reject judges who were recommended for promotion by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) without being given a chance to defend themselves.
In an apparent criticism of the decision by his boss to leave the judges out, the country’s second-in-command said the judicial officers have been ‘condemned unheard.’
“What I oppose is them being condemned unheard. This is because they haven’t been given a chance to defend themselves.” Ruto charged
The six judges include Justices Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir, and Joel Ngugi, who were to serve in the Appellate court. Others were Judith Cheruiyot and Evans Makori who were recommended for promotion to superior courts.
“In the eyes of Kenyans, the judges are being viewed as guilty of offenses, yet they haven’t had an opportunity to tell their side of the story.” He added
On this, Ruto hit out at persons he accused of offering wrong advice to the Head of State, to a point where it has created confusion on the next steps.
According to the DP, the affected judges should be sworn into office and all issues raised against them can be brought before the JSC for a fresh review.
“The JSC can form a tribunal, issues against the judges heard and those found unsuitable will be removed and those found clean to remain in office.” He said
During an interview with a local radio station, Ruto was adamant that if there were issues around their suitability to hold office, the constitution provides mechanisms on how to handle them.
“The issues that are being said in regards to the five judges should have been provided before the interviews so that the Judicial Service Commission should have made a decision based on that.” He said
Ruto says the Executive should not be viewed as being keen to interfere with the affairs of the Judiciary. He insists that the judges should be independent, and not be forced to incline to any group if they are to dispense justice to all.
“That is why I opposed the BBI. It provided for a Judiciary Ombudsman, who will superintend the affairs of the Judiciary. I vehemently opposed this because that is how to undermine the independence of the judiciary.” He concluded