Executive wants me out by end of year, says Maraga
Chief Justice David Maraga yesterday claimed that some Cabinet and Principal Secretaries were plotting to have him pushed out of office.
Speaking at a press conference in which he accused the Executive of subjecting the third arm of government to many frustrations, including a crippling budget cut and etiquette indignities, Maraga said the officials in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government were out to hound him out of office before the end of the year.
“I am told that some PS and CS are bragging that the CJ will or should be removed before the end of this year. Really? Kumbe hii nchi iko na wenyewe (so this country has its real owners) and that some of us are serving at their pleasure? But the CJ is here exercising the mandate given to him by Kenyans. I am not serving at the pleasure of any PS or CS,” an angry Maraga said at the Supreme Court building.
The Judiciary recently complained of what it says is unjustified reduction of its budget allocation which has affected its operations.
Yesterday, Maraga said beside the money woes, the Judiciary was being treated with contempt by the Executive, with the office of the Chief Justice not being treated with the respect it deserves.
“I receive letters written by clerks in CS and PS offices. A clerk is the one who addresses the CJ. I shred most of the letters. All arms of government must stay on their lane and respect each other,” he said.
State House wait
The CJ also raised protocol issues, including not being treated with dignity and due respect at State functions.
He said for example that Cabinet and Principal Secretaries were cleared to enter State House before the CJ, who has to wait longer.
On Mashujaa Day celebrations in Mombasa, Maraga said he was only allowed to walk to the dais through a side walk and the master of ceremonies did not even acknowledge his arrival as it was the case with other leaders.
“Unless I am treated with dignity due to my office, I will choose which State functions to attend,” he said.
The Chief Justice claimed the Executive wanted to control the Judiciary and turn it into a “puppet.”
“The Judiciary does not interfere in the affairs of other arms of government. Why are they interfering in our affairs? Because they want to control the Judiciary and make it a puppet,” he said.
Maraga complained that his application to be issued with a Mercedes Benz vehicle had been rejected on the grounds that it amounts to wastage of resources.
“Is it wastage to buy the CJ a Mercedes Benz 500 but it is not wastage to buy the two Speakers of the National Assembly the same car ?” he asked.
He said he has been informed that the VIP lounge at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on the ground floor had been reserved for Deputy President William Ruto.
“I use the Kenya Airways lounge and by the way I enjoy the company of the passengers I find there. My problem is that, at times, I receive important visitors, like fellow Chief Justices. Where do you expect me to take them?” he asked.
He said the Judiciary’s Budget allocation had been shrinking Since 2014, with the institution receiving 0.69 per cent of the national budget this financial year.
Maraga pointed out that while the Judiciary’s share of resources was dwindling, its workload was growing.
He said that out of the 400,000 cases filed every year, the courts have the manpower to clear 300,000, hence the growing case backlog.
Maraga said he would not seek favours from anyone to have the Judiciary allocated more funds, saying all it is demanding is a fair share of the budget to discharge its mandate.
“Moving forward, Judiciary budget estimates will be taken to Parliament directly and not Treasury because we cannot beg for what belongs to us,” he said.
Among the services the Judiciary has halted owing to lack of funds include mobile courts and the Court of Appeal circuits in Mombasa, Nyeri, Nakuru and Eldoret.
On the fight against corruption, Maraga dismissed claims that the Judiciary is the weak link, saying the due process of law has to be followed in graft cases.
“There is no way cases can be concluded in a day or two. Kenyans should be patient since the rule of law must be followed,” Maraga said.