Friday, 22 September 2017

Attacks against the Judiciary Denigrate Institutional Independence

Supreme Court judges during court proceedings
Image: Courtesy

The last three weeks have been characterized by infantile political scenes and irritable political episodes following the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court to nullify the outcome of the presidential election. The scenes and episodes in question are nonetheless hypnotized political rhetoric that outrightly negate and demean the spirit of constitutionalism.

Honchos, the rank and file, sympathizers and the passionate supporters of the Jubilee Party and its candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, feel aggrieved by the majoritarian decision of the Supreme Court. In any polity that fashions and attempts to emulate the ideals of democracy, criticism is certainly warranted. The criticism, however, ought to be constructive and positive and not destructive and negative. For President Kenyatta and his camp, negative and destructive criticism of the Supreme Court is indeed supreme than the otherwise ideal constructive and positive criticism.

In understanding the vile and bile meted out to the so-called architects of the ‘Supreme Coup’, it is fundamentally important to revisit the institutional history of the Kenyan polity. As a country, we are still nursing hangovers of institutional complicity and conspiracy between the arms of government despite transiting from the retrogressive Lancaster constitutional doctrine to a more progressive legal dispensation.

Ideologically, we are accustomed to the evil antics of the Judiciary shielding the Executive without the requisite adherence to the rule of law. This culture was engendered by Jomo Kenyatta, perpetuated by Daniel arap Moi, observed by Mwai Kibaki and now being affirmed and cemented by Uhuru Kenyatta.

There is no doubt that the president and his associates are the unrivaled masters of double speak going by the black and white sentiments uttered in regard to the functions as well as importance of institutions. On several occasions, the president and his troops are on record urging members of the opposition to address their grievances through the courts. In fact, following the opposition’s dispute of the now annulled presidential election results, Jubilee’s leadership was categorical in persuading Raila Odinga and his compatriots to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court.

What changed? Is it that the Jubilee Party expected the Supreme Court to rule in its favor? I find it an extreme act of political destitution and constitutional disrespect by individuals who took an oath of office to protect the values and ideals of the constitution to constantly attack the four judges of the Supreme Court without any legal merit.

Threats by Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto and the Jubilee Members of Parliament to whittle down the powers of the Judiciary are a subversion of the constitution and more precisely, a plan to carry out a constitutional coup. Issuance of threats by the Executive directed towards the Judiciary is an antiquated political antic that invalidates the maxim of the rule of law. Politically liberated and conscious citizens should not allow such a warped legal precedence to define Kenya’s fledgling democracy.

Political propaganda continues to take centre stage with various plots hatched to oust the four judges who declared the presidential results null and void. Fallacies by the Jubilee side of the political divide indicate that there was connivance between the four Justices and the Raila Odinga led NASA coalition. Propagators of this supposed golden propaganda are inherently hell bent and selective with facts. In any case, the actions of Jubilee’s leadership and its proxies amount to fashioning the doctrine of alternative facts.

At this rate, we are headed towards a direction where the Executive will be dictating the order of business in Parliament and what judgments are to be made by the courts akin to the dubious political games witnessed during the Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi’s administrations. As a matter of fact, there are two instances under the Jubilee administration in which the Executive has convoluted with its “tyrannical” majority in the National Assembly to legislate fishy pieces of legislations. These tyrannical episodes were during the passage of the Security Amendment Act and the Election Laws Amendment Act. We should carefully read between the lines.

Independence of the Judiciary is at stake with judges expected to rule in favor of the Jubilee Party. This certainly doesn’t observe and adhere to the sanctity of governance institutions. The Jubilee side of the political divide should stop these juvenile sideshows laced with outbursts of anger. Remarks made by Jubilee Party’s leadership on the conduct of the Supreme Court are notoriously dangerous in view of the spirit of constitutionalism. The president, his deputy and other Jubilee supporters must demonstrate in deed and not just in mere words that they respect the verdict of the Supreme Court.

Going forward, Kenyans of goodwill should not allow the political leadership to suppress and stamp out the fundamental ideals that informed the genesis of the Second Liberation. To this effect, institutional independence in accordance with our national constitution must reign supreme.


No comments:

Post a Comment