, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – The legal fraternity in Kenya has rubbished Monday’s ruling that declared Kadhis courts illegal and termed it as mischief.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the Kenyan Section of the International Commission Jurists (ICJ) said the ruling raised questions of independence and competence of the judiciary.
“The actions of the judiciary call into question the independence of the judiciary as the ruling coincides with political hostility towards a new constitutional order,” said LSK Convener on Civic Education Lucy Kambuni.
She further said the timing of the ruling raised many credibility concerns wondering why it took so long for the court to deliver its ruling.
With the filing having been done in 2004 and last submissions done in 2006, Ms Kambuni wondered why the court took long to deliver the judgment which came in the middle of heated debate on inclusion of the Kadhis Courts in the proposed Constitution.
“The timing is not a coincidence, the judiciary is once more joining forces that do not want a new Constitution which will require them to undergo vetting,” she said.
She continued: “These actions constitute reckless and misguided judicial adventure which risks throwing the country into significant political uncertainty.”
FIDA Deputy Executive Director Claris Ogangah also dismissed the ruling saying it was flawed and had no basis hence undermined the greater public interest.
She said it was likely to create disharmony between Christians and Muslims apart from discriminating the group which is a minority in the country.
The lawyers appealed to Kenyans not to be duped into political interpretation of the ruling which they said will of course be used by the No side to drum up support.
LSK Council Member Eric Mutua said although the ruling did not have any legal impact on the proposed new law, it was definite that politicians would use it to influence support on their decisions.
The group also called for sobriety and urged the Muslim community to ignore the ruling as it would not affect the proposed draft.
They also appreciated the speed in which the Attorney General moved to court to challenge the ruling.
“There will be no need for us to challenge the ruling because the AG has already done that, but this is one of the interventions we could have used to discredit the ruling.”