NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has unveiled a political movement he says will lead the fight against the disregard of the constitution and the rule of law as well as court orders by the executive arm of government.
Mutunga was named the convener of the United Political Front (UPF) comprising of United Green Movement (UGM), the Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) and Ukweli Party (UP).
Speaking to news reporters on Thursday, Mutunga said the caucus had resolved to rally fellow Kenyans to reconstruct the nation towards adherence to the rule of law.
“We are standing to be counted in demanding swift end to the lawless trajectory that the Presidency has proven to prefer over constitutionalism and the rule of law. We have resolved to work together to rally fellow Kenyans to brick by brick help reconstruct our nation,” he said.
UPF’s first assignment will be to champion for the return of opposition activist Miguna Miguna, who was deported in March 2018, on November 16. Mutunga pointed out that the disregard of court orders by the Jubilee government is dangerous in a constitutional democracy.
“The least the government could do is appeal against the court orders if it disagreed with the court decisions. But the Uhuru Kenyatta administration choose to disregard the court decisions and set its own goal posts,” he stated.
The political front stated that the return of Miguna will be a process not an event saying that no sane government can make one of its citizens a fugitive in another country.
“We are inviting Kenyans to join this process because you can deport a citizen of your country. We are using this case to highlight the failure of the executive to obey court orders,” Booker Ngesa of Communist Party of Kenya said.
“We shall do whatsoever we can to ensure Miguna comes to the country and even if we fail we will continue to push. I can tell you Miguna has bought a ticket to return to the country. It’s a coordinated effort whether by plane or submarine we will have him back, of course we can’t diverge our strategy,” Augustine Neto co-leader of the United Green Movement stated.
Miguna Miguna was dramatically deported to Canada after swearing in Orange Democratic Leader Raila Odinga as People’s President in January 2018. The court termed his deportation illegal and went on to issue 18 orders to ensure his return.
Mutunga said the movement will petition Court of Appeal judges to down their tools in solidarity with Justices Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir and Joel Ngugi who were omitted from judicial appointments by President Uhuru Kenya despite having been cleared by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) alongside seven others.
The former CJ termed the move by President Kenyatta as political execution which he says is hallmark of injustice.
“To think that two years he hasn’t come up with the intelligence on the suitability of these judges and because of the President action the issue has been ethnicized. Any Kenyan should not that one the issue ethinicized then it is not right. You cant say a judge is unsuitable and not give reason, it should be given to JSC,” he said.
“If you look at the constitution there is no provision that says the President must swear in the judges. This are convention that exist from the old constitution in terms of relationship between the three arms of government,” he added.
The judicial activist said Chief Justice Martha Koome should swear in six judges omitted from appointment despite having been listed among a list of 41 candidates recommended JSC.
“Am sure they will be cases clarifying this issue of swearing in of the Judges. The President can’t refuse to appoint judges because the JSC has the final verdict on the matter. If he (Uhuru) wants to derail this process is when Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice are nominated and they go to Parliament awaiting approval,” the former CJ stated.
On October 21, High Court justices William Musyoka, James Wakiaga and George Dulu said Chief Justice Martha Koome in conjunction with the Judicial Service Commission shall be at liberty to take all necessary steps to swear in the six judges if President Kenyatta fails to play his part.
Attorney General Kihara Kariuki however filed an appeal on October 27 challenging the order.
He said orders issued by the three-judge bench were based on foreign precedents as they are not backed by law.
Kariuki said the judgment has the potential effect of creating a conflict between the office of the Chief Justice and the Office of the President.