KISUMU, Kenya, Aug 15 – Orange Democratic Movement Party Leader Raila Odinga lashed out at the courts on Friday, accusing a court official of derailing the national government’s projects in Nyanza region.
Odinga, the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development, made the remarks in apparent veiled attack on Kisumu’s Industrial court judge Nduma Nderi during a courtesy call to Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.
Odinga faulted Justice Nderi’s decision on Thursday to suspend the leasing of State-owned sugar mills until a matter filed before his court is heard and determined.
“Issuing an ex parte ruling on such a fundamental issue when it is not a matter of life and death is not right,” he remarked.
“The government is available, why couldn’t the court wait to hear the government side?” he posed adding, “basically it appears the court is frustrating this leasing process.”
The ruling followed an application by the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers.
Odinga insisted that although courts and the institution of the Judiciary are independent, they are not immune to criticism.
He said the matter which is set for hearing on September 30, could be delayed to sometime next year, a move he noted risks wearing down potential investors.
Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers had opposed planned leasing citing unmet debt obligations to its members totaling Sh5 billion.
The union’s Secretary General Francis Wangara had told the press the mills are yet to commit any funds to pay salary arrears.
Odinga urged the government to appeal Justice Nderi’s ruling.