NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – Lugari Member of Parliament Cyrus Jirongo has asked Prime Minister Raila Odinga, lawmakers Martha Karua and William Ruto to respect the Judiciary, just hours after Chief Justice Willy Mutunga rapped the PM over remarks on court decisions.
In a statement, the presidential contender says the three must show leadership to ensure the forthcoming general election is peaceful.
He said he supported Mutunga who on Monday accused Raila of displaying “impunity” by labelling the constitutional court “Korti bandia” (kangaroo court) over its ruling on the election date.
The Lugari MP said it was ironical that while the PM has been taking credit about his role in the passage of the new Constitution – which among other things gave Kenya a new electoral body and a vetted Judiciary – he is now attempting to recreate the pre-2007 mob rule mentality when no one wanted to approach the Judiciary to arbitrate electoral disputes.
“The Constitution is clear on how conflicts in our electoral system should be dealt with. Nowhere is it written in the Constitution that in case of conflict, Raila Odinga, William Ruto or Martha Karua should offer interpretation. Neither does it say, public opinion will hold sway over matters of the law,” the statement from Jirongo said.
He opined that Karua – who has been a judicial officer and who in the 2008 asked the disgruntled ODM to take their election dispute to court – should be the last person to undermine the Judiciary in an election year.
The MP expressed concerns that Kenya is facing a situation where politicians desperately want to make their personal opinions sound like facts in law.
“In any case, the matter is at the Court of Appeal and Kenyans should respect the process. In my view this incitement should be roundly condemned by any sober Kenyan who wishes for a peaceful poll,” the statement further stated.
Odinga, Ruto and Karua have all voiced dissenting opinions after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission announced that elections will be held on March 4, 2013 based on the IEBC’s interpretation of a January court ruling.
Karua opposed the March 2013 date saying the extension of the term of the current Parliament would have a negative impact on Kenyans.
She stated that the announcement that was based on options given in January by the High Court ruling set a bad precedent as it was in the interest of a few individuals.
She however called on the Court of Appeal to intervene and make a ruling which is acceptable to everyone.
Elsewhere, Ol-Kalou MP Erastus Mureithi also hit out at Prime Minister Raila Odinga over his recent utterances on the High Court ruling on the election date terming it a sign of undermining authority.
The Ol-Kalou legislator held that the PM’s utterances were unacceptable and “reeked of impunity”.
“If someone speaks ill of the Judiciary then that person has no respect for that institution, we made the new Constitution that provided for the Judiciary we have now – So I do not understand how fake the courts are,” he said.
Mureithi has appealed to Kenyans and leaders to respect the various government institutions saying it was unfortunate that a section of leaders have showed disrespect to the Judiciary.
The MP who made the remarks in his constituency also called for sobriety in the debate over the date of the next general elections.
On Monday the CJ reprimanded the PM saying his pronouncements to the effect that the IEBC had made a decision on the election date by interpreting a ruling of fake courts as ‘distressing.’
Mutunga reminded the premier that he bears a duty to uphold and protect the independence of the Judiciary as required by the Constitution especially in instances where he is unhappy with its decision.
“It is therefore, distressing that individuals who bear a special responsibility to uphold the Constitution because of their leadership role would appear to vilify the courts,” the Chief Justice who is the President of the Supreme Court said.