, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to call a meeting this week with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to discuss the stalemate between the National Assembly and Judiciary.
State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the President was committed to ensure both arms of government work on a common ground.
Addressing journalist on Wednesday afternoon at State House Nairobi, Esipisu said the President will ensure a deliberative approach was reached to solve all contentious issues.
“The National Assembly has asked the President to form a tribunal under Article 251 (1) of the Constitution to investigate the six members of the Judicial Service Commission,” he pointed out.
He said the President as the symbol of unity and also, “the protector of the Constitution, acknowledges and enhances judicial independence and the National Assembly as part of the legislature and exerciser of Kenya sovereignty.”
“President Kenyatta will urge the Chief Justice and the House Speaker to embrace the need for restraint and a deliberative approach to problem-solving at the meeting, which will take place before the weekend,” he assured.
He said the President had however appealed to the National Assembly to act with restraint even as they deal with their constitutional obligations.
“The President believes that if institutions focus on the principles of governance from a purposive angle, most disagreements and controversies would give to consensus,” he said.
Esipisu pointed out that the decision to convene the meeting is in line with the President’s constitutional mandate of unifying the country and ensuring a consensus based approach to national issues.
The National Assembly on November 7 adopted a report recommending that President Kenyatta appoints a tribunal to investigate six Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Commissioners, in a bid to eject them from office.
In its findings, the Justice and Legal Affairs committee of the National Assembly recommended that President Kenyatta names a tribunal to investigate commissioners Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Reverend Samuel Kobia, Christine Mango, Justice Mohamed Warsame, Emily Ominde and Florence Mwangangi.
The adoption of the report came a day after the High Court warned Members of Parliament against debating the report until the matter is heard and determined by the courts.
But Speaker Muturi had said the courts should not interfere with the workings of the National Assembly.
“Parliament cannot pass a resolution here saying criminal ‘A’ appearing before this or that court should be acquitted. Similarly, it is Trite Law that the courts cannot and must not direct what this House does. That I will defend to the hilt,” Muturi had said after Kisumu West Town MP Olago Aluoch sought his guidance.
“It has never happened that someone in their right mind would take the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya to court for exercising it oversight role,” Muturi said.
MPs seemed exasperated by the fact that the JSC had on two occasions snubbed the committee’s summonses to appear and respond to the allegations contained in the petition filed by one Nicholas Riungu.
MPs said the JSC had flouted a directive by Muturi which ordered that anyone who is summoned by a House Committee ought to personally appear and plead to have the matter rescheduled.
Earlier on Wednesday, Law society of Kenya Chairman Eric Mutua had also urged the President to convene a meeting between Parliament and the Judiciary.
He said this will bring a common understanding of the legal issues facing both arms of the government.
The lawyers’ society also urged the President not to form a tribunal saying the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee reached its conclusion in a skewed manner.
“The process itself was tainted with illegality and it contravenes the constitution itself; we must go with what the constitution provides…there is no room for a tribunal,” he said.
On the same issue, Constitution Implementation Commission Chairman Simon Nyachae echoed the same words but added that JSC had a constitutional obligation to appear before parliamentary committees.
He however said Parliament had no mandate to direct JSC on what to do as they are both independent.