Uhuru defends BBI Ombudsman,says the judiciary must be accountable

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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,12TH DEC,2020-President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday spoke strongly about the Judiciary while criticising those opposed to constitutional amendments.

Reacting to claims by the Judiciary arm of the government of alleged interference by the executive, the president did not mince his words stating that an independent Office of the Judiciary Ombudsman will oversight judicial action on behalf of the people.

Kenyatta while addressing Kenyans on Saturday during Jamhuri day celebrations used the opportunity to drum up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) with an impassioned call to Kenyans to embrace it saying it provides an opportunity for transformative change.

He took the bull by the horns and defended the creation of the Judiciary Ombudsman as proposed in the BBI bill declaring that the Judiciary must be subjected to the will of the people.

“Justice under the law is about the Judiciary as the third Arm of Government. To ensure that the will of justice spins fairly for all, and to reduce the distance between the disadvantaged and the law, the Judiciary must be subjected to the will of the people.  It must have an oversight body that is a direct expression of the spirit of the nation” he noted.

 

He said the spirit of justice should guarantee the distance between the disadvantaged and the law is reduced.

 

“If the Executive and Parliament, which are Arms of Government, are a direct expression of the will of the people, who is the Judiciary accountable to?  Where are the Judicial checks and balances located outside of the Judicial Service Commission led and dominated by the officers of the court? He posed.

He said the contested amendment proposes a representation model that seeks to ensure that everyone is accommodated justly.

“The Spirit of the First Amendment is also a spirit of justice.  And by this, I mean, justice in representation and justice under the law. Justice in representation is also about inclusion.  Every Kenyan must have a just and fair avenue for participation in the actions of the government.  This is not a luxury” he explained.

 

Outgoing Chief Justice David Maraga Friday trashed a proposal to create the office of the Judiciary ombudsman claiming it entrenches executive influence and that it is a direct conflict and duplication of roles between the Ombudsman and the JSC.

Maraga who spoke on his last day in office recommended that Ombudsman be appointed by Judicial Service Commission and not by the President as proposed in the BBI Bill.

Maraga has started his leave pending his retirement in January.

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