Attorney General Kihara Karuiki says president Uhuru was in order for not appointing the 41 judges in executive-judiciary feud

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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,9TH JUNE,2020-Attorney General Kihara Kariuki  maintains  that President Uhuru Kenyatta will not appoint 41 judges nominated by Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for appointment to superior courts despite condemnation by Chief Justice David Maraga.

Maraga launched stinging criticism targeted at the Head of State during a press briefing on Monday accusing President Kenyatta of disobeying court orders instructing him to appoint the judges.

Addressing a press conference a day after Maraga decried the crisis caused by the inadequate judges in superior courts, the AG insisted  the President will not appoint judges with questionable character adding that the refusal to appoint the JSC nominees was within the law.

“His Excellency the President will not abdicate his role as Head of State and Government to appoint persons with a questionable record to serve the nation in the solemn role of judge,”  he said.

The AG accused the Chief Justice of commenting on a matter pending court terming the move as a ploy to influence the outcome of an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court where Maraga where the he serves as one of the judges.

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki-COURTESY

“The Chief Justice is openly commenting on merits and demerits of cases pending in courts, it not only creates a perception that he is seeking to influence the outcome, but raises questions on why he as a justice of supreme court is expressing extra judicial opinions on matters that may end up in Supreme Court for hearing and determination,” Kariuki claimed.

The Judges who were recommended by JSC in July 2019 for appointment to the Court of Appeal, the Environment and Land Court and the Employment and Labor Relations Court formed the basis of Maraga’s frustrations.

“The President has persisted in this refusal despite orders in two cases requiring him to swear in these judges within 14 days,” Maraga said on Monday.

Kariuki however said he will reach out to the Judiciary directly and seek for mutual agreement over the tussle.

“We will not follow the CJ on public utterances for hero status, we shall respond to him directly, we believe in norm of governance and in long established channels between arms of government,” he stated during a media briefing at the State Law Office in Nairobi.

The AG challenged the Judiciary to focus on re opening the courts fully in order to faciliatete access of justice for the Kenyans in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

“At a time when our nation is grappling with negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic which have included the near shut out of the court by order of chief justice, we invite the office to focus on re opening access to justice and address cases of litigants,” he remarked.

Maraga had in his statement  decried frustration by the Head of State over disobeyed two court orders on appointment of 41 nominees as superior court judges.

“I have challenged the Executive to table before the JSC the alleged information of lack of integrity it has against some of the 41 nominees. Some of the individuals the Executive claims to have adverse information against are serving judges,” the CJ said.

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