Mutunga to rally lawyers to force judges’ appointment

Friday, October 29th, 2021 00:00 |
Retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga addresses a media briefing at United Green Movement headquarters in Nairobi. With him is the co-leader of UGM Agostinho Neto. Photo/PD/KENNA CLAUDE

Chief Justice Emeritus Dr  Willy Mutunga says he will rally all lawyers to boycott court activities until President Uhuru Kenyatta appoints the six judges as directed by the court as a sign of solidarity to ensure the Executive adheres to the rule of law.

Mutunga said the first assignment for the lawyers will be to force the return of exiled colleague Miguna Miguna next month.

“After the return of the exiled lawyer, we will also petition judges of the Court of Appeal to down their tools, in solidarity with their six colleagues that the President has refused to appoint on flimsy grounds until such a time that the Head of State appoints them as ordered by the court,” stated a statement read out by Mutunga on behalf of a group of political party leaders and human rights activists.

Mutunga has said he will bring back home Miguna on November 16 as ordered by the High Court two years ago.

Deported barrister

The former Chief Justice, who was accompanied by a group of political leaders under the United Political Front (UPF) during a press conference, said plans to return the deported Canada-based lawyer are at an advanced stage.

Represented parties were United Green Movement (UGM), Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) and Ukweli Party (UK).

United Green Movement leader Agostinho Neto said Miguna has already booked his air ticket and the delegation accompanying him will be flying from Toronto soon to accompany him back home.

They said they had come together to address the nation on the worrisome trend of disrespect for the rule of law in the country which had signs of taking the country to the levels of a failed republic.

“We have witnessed rampant acts of impunity, lack of respect for the Constitution and the lack of constitutionalism by the political elite, which has stalled the far reaching transformational agenda that our Supreme Law prescribes,” said the group.

During the press conference, human rights activists and the party leaders slammed the government over what they termed as a blatant violation of court orders which they warned could lead to anarchy.

The activists said they will be demanding that all the judges down their tools should President Uhuru fail to obey the court order directing him to appoint and swear in the remaining six judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

“We fear that Chief Justice Martha Koome might not heed to the court orders upon the lapse of the 14 days as directed,” said Mutunga.

The activists noted that the Head of State omitted the names of six judges from the list submitted by the JSC, consequent to which new orders have been issued but which the Executive has not complied.

“In 10 years after its promulgation the Jubilee administration has sand-bagged the Constitution’s comprehensive reorganisation of Kenya’s institutions and models of political and economic governance,” read the statement.

They claimed Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has done everything in their power to push back on inclusive democracy and economic improvement that made Kenyans vote overwhelmingly for the Constitution in 2010.

They singled out the failure to adhere to orders on Miguna, dissolution of parliament as directed by former Chief Justice David Maraga and refusal to compensate political prisoners who suffered torture and illegal detention in the 1980’s.

The activists said the four instances show a dangerous pathway that the executive has chosen.

“We need and must return our country to the rule of law. As a united political front we are standing up to be counted in demanding a swift end to the lawless trajectory that the presidency has proven to prefer over the constitutionalism and the rule of law,” read the statement.

They said they had resolved to work together to rally Kenyans to “brick by brick” help reconstruct the country towards a non-negotiable adherence to the rule law by all, regardless of their wealth or power or personal preferences. 

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