Chief Justice David Maraga Tuesday broke his long silence after the historic ruling that annulled Kenya’s presidential election and declared that the Judiciary was ready to pay the ultimate price to protect the constitution and rule of law.
Speaking in his capacity as the chairman of the Judicial Service Commssion, Maraga took issue with the increasing incidence of attacks which he said were meant to intimidate the Judiciary and individual judges.
He in particular dismissed the demonstrations that have been taking place outside the Supreme Court saying they bordered on violence.
He spoke even as Jubilee supporters staged anti-Supreme Court demonstrations in Nairobi, Nyeri, Nakuru and Eldoret ahead of Wednesday’s release of the full judgement nullifying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win.
“These attacks are denigrating, demeaning and degrading and are meant to intimidate, threaten and cow the institution and individual judges. Such acts are not only unlawful but also savage in nature. We call upon Kenyans of goodwill to stand up for the independence of the Judiciary and the rule of law. On our part, we are prepared to pay the ultimate price to protect the Constitution and the rule of law” he said.
He said it was worrying that these attacks are happening at a time when the Judiciary is starting to hear the 339 petitions already filed in various courts.
Defending the independence of the Judiciary, the CJ said it was unfortunate that judicial officers and staff, have been attacked, threatened and negatively profiled on social media even by senior political leaders.
“The JSC would like to state that we unreservedly condemn these mindless acts of aggression against the Judiciary and reiterate that if anything happens to the individual judges, staff or their families, those making inciting statements will be personally held responsible”.
He urged all judicial officers to work in accordance with their constitutional mandate without any fear, favour or bias.
“We therefore will never agree to work in accordance with the whims and desires of the executive and Parliament. The Judiciary as currently constituted cannot and shall not guarantee a particular outcome to any individual” he said.
He said those tired with the institution have the option of calling for a referendum and abolish it.
“The Judiciary is an arm of Government equal to the Executive and the Legislature. If leaders are tired of having a strong and independent judiciary, they should call a referendum and abolish it altogether. Before that happens, the Judiciary will continue to discharge its mandate in accordance with the Constitution and individual oaths of office”
He also accused the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet of failing to protect the Judiciary in the wake of the attacks and protests.
“JSC notes with dismay that the Inspector-General of Police, who is expected to provide security to all Government facilities, has repeatedly ignored calls to act, exposing Judicial officers, property and litigants to danger,”he said.
He said Judiciary is as an arm of Government equal to the Executive and the Legislature and should never be interfered with.