BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,16TH SEPT,2022-Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga now claims that President William Ruto’s recent move to appoint the six judges that were rejected by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta was aimed at controlling the Judiciary.
Speaking in Machakos County on Friday when Azimio MPs convened for a Parliamentary Group meeting, Odinga likened the move – which came as Ruto’s first order of business after being sworn in – to a bribe.
He also cited the allocation of funds as yet another geared towards what he termed as taking control of the Judiciary, something he opined would lead to tampering with its independence.
The Azimio boss intimated that the role of allocation of judicial funds was a function of Parliament, thus faulting the Head of State for failure to consult before executing the move.
“There is clearly a push by the Executive to own the Judiciary through illegal actions that amount to bribery. That is the reason for the rush to appoint six judges and to allocate money to the Judiciary,” he said.
“Financial allocations to institutions and State agencies are done by Parliament based on a scrutiny of budget proposals presented by the institution. In this case, the Executive has given itself that role. It is a plain attempt to capture the Judiciary through bribery.”
President Ruto on September 13, 2022 appointed the six judges that were nominated for appointment some time ago by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), then presided over their swearing-in the following day.
Immediately after his inauguration, President Ruto kicked off his official duties by signing two separate gazette notices appointing four Court of Appeal judges and two Environment and Land Court judges at State House, Nairobi.
The Court of Appeal Judges appointed by President Ruto are Korir Weldon Kipyegon, Muchelule Aggrey Otsyula, Odunga George Vincent and Prof. Joel Mwaura Ngugi.
The two Environment and Land Court judges appointed by the Head of State are Makori Evans Kiago and Cheruiyot Omange Judith Elizabeth.
During his inaugural speech at Kasarani stadium, he also explained that his intention to scale up the Judiciary budgetary allocation in his first term was aimed at increasing the independence of public offices in line with his manifesto.
He also said the funds would empower the Judiciary to smoothen its operations and to set up more courts at the counties and sub-counties levels.
“My administration will scale up the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary by an additional Ksh.3 billion annually for the next 5 years. These resources will support the bottom-up scaling of justice by increasing the number of small claims courts from the current 25 to 100,” he said then.
“We will also work with the Judiciary to build High Courts in the remaining 7 counties, magistrates courts in the remaining 123 sub-counties and support their ongoing digitization program.”