NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has challenged the Senators to distinguish themselves from the typical legislators Kenyans are used to.
In his farewell address to the Senate, CJ Mutunga pointed out that for Kenyans to enjoy the fruits of decentralisation, the Senate must be firm in fighting for the devolved units.
“A Senator is not merely a politician. Senators are called to be worthy statesmen and women. This is more than a debating chamber but a deliberative one,” CJ Mutunga asserted.
He urged the Senate to stay focused in their job and put more pressure on the national government, to fully implement devolution adding that this is the only way for Kenyans to benefit.
“The Senate as a new institution must not allow itself to act as a toddler. The Senate should realise its constitutional promise and it’s potential. Senate role is not yet fully activated but it should assert its constitutional role by constructively befriending the rule of law and making it an ally, not by competing with other government organs,” he said.
On his part, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro lauded the CJ for taking the initiative to build cohesiveness and synergy between the two institutions which had frosty relations in the first two years of the Jubilee administration.
CJ Mutunga who is also the President of the Supreme Court will step down Thursday, one year before his term was to end in June 2017.
Mutunga who turns 69 on June 16, 2016 announced he would be leaving early in order to avert a constitutional crisis come next year, when Kenya holds a General Election.
CJ Mutunga was appointed in June 2011 and has overseen a number of reforms in the Judiciary.
Parliament and the Judiciary have enjoyed a relatively strained relationship, especially with regard to Embu Governor Martin Wambora’s issue in which a High Court ruling effectively put on hold a Senate decision to impeach him.
In 2014, Senators lashed out at the Judiciary over what they termed as numerous injunctions to bar the House from discharging its constitutional mandate.
The Makueni County Assembly had passed a motion to impeach Governor Kivutha Kibwana but the High Court barred the Senate from receiving the ouster request.