, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – The Jubilee administration’s commitment to the rule of law is unquestionable, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
He said the threshold of observing the law was higher now than at any other time in the history of Kenya.
“My Government’s unwavering commitment to the rule of law is part of our solemn pledge to honour, obey, uphold and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya at all times,” he said.
The Head of State said even at a personal level, he has utmost respect and submission to the rule of law.
It was in this regard that he submitted himself to the recent summons by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“Recently, I took the step of honouring summons of the International Criminal Court, both as a personal obligation, and to demonstrate the principle that obedience to judicial edicts is vital, said President Kenyatta.
The President said the government may not always like the orders issued by the courts, but this was no reason to disobey them.
The rule of law, the President said, depends in no small measure on the respect for judicial authority.
“In turn, this is made conceivable by the expectation that every judicial action and decision is inherently just. Total obedience must be met with total integrity,” he said.
The President said the high standard of the rule of law is anchored by the new Constitution, which he described as among the best in the world especially in the protection of the rights of the individual.
The President said the Constitution is in a class of its own in terms of how it balances the Executive, Judicial and Legislative power and its demand for fulsome public participation, transparency, accountability and integrity.
The Head of State was speaking when he opened the 12th East African Magistrates and Judges Association Annual General Conference at the Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi.
The conference is attended by over 300 delegates drawn from the East African region including South Sudan and Zanzibar.
All the Chief Justices from the East African Countries are represented in the conference led by Dr Willy Mutunga from Kenya.
While calling for mutual respect and synergy between the three Arms of Government, President Kenyatta however said the Judiciary in the East African region at times acts in a manner that throws roadblocks on the operations of the Executive and the Legislature.
“In particular, the issuance of injunctive interim orders, especially ex-parte, has done much to undermine goodwill and harmony between the Three Arms of Government in each nation,” said the President.
He asked the delegates to discuss and agree on common standards of judicial practice across East Africa that will address the concerns of the Executive and Legislative branches of governance.
These concerns, said the president, should be addressed “without lessening the vitality of the rule of law and the proper administration of justice,” the President said.
He said that balance, delicate as it may be, must be found for there to be just and effective Government in the young democracies that constitute the East African region.
The President said there is much more to be achieved through consultation and consensus building rather than by brinksmanship.
President Kenyatta also asked the delegates to discuss and find solutions towards a common judicial philosophy and approach to the cross-border challenges that plague the East African nations.
He said criminals and terrorists are seeking to create regional networks and ply their evil across our borders.
“To address this menace, the courts in East Africa must come together the same way security, intelligence and specialist agencies have. This way, we will answer regional integration with the integration of law enforcement capacity,” he said.
Cross border crimes on which the states need co-operation, said the president, include poaching, human, drug trafficking and terrorism.