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CJ Koome downplays UDA concerns over her involvement in election preparedness

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 25 – Chief Justice Martha Koome has dismissed concerns by Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) over her judicial independence in elections since she chairs a government election preparedness team.

In her response to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) brigade who view her involvement as compromising, Koome pointed out that the Constitution gives her and other government agencies the authority to work together with the view of serving Kenyans better.

“The Judicial Service Act gives me the mandate to be the link for the Judiciary with other government agencies. It also creates the National Council on Administration of Justice whose mandate is to collaborate and coordinate all the actors in the administration of justice to ensure that at the end of the day we render seamless services,” she said on Thursday during her presentation before delegates attending the National Devolution Conference held in Makueni.

Justice Koome is a member of the Inter-governmental technical committee that brings together various government agencies involved in preparation for next year’s elections.

Other notable members in the committee include: The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Treasury, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiangi (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT) who have also been asked to step down from their roles by the UDA team over their close association with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The UDA team on Wednesday trained their guns on Justice Koome whom they said risks being compromised owing to her position as the President of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land that deals with the Presidential election petitions.

Their salvos came soon after Koome chaired a meeting of the National Multi-Agency Consultative Forum on Election preparedness at the Kenya School of Government which discussed among other things the 2022 election budget.

In her swift rejoinder, Koome re-assured Kenyans that the independence of her office is intact and her involvement should not be interpreted to mean otherwise.

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“I want to tell Kenyans that the independence of the Judiciary is deep, is fundamental, it cannot be taken away simply because I have sat with other agencies of government or politicians. We are required by our Constitution to collaborate and coordinate our affairs, no one can act in a silo and be able to deliver for the people,” she said.

The UDA team expressed concerns that should the Judiciary be part of elections management team; Kenyans will have nowhere to turn to in the event there are election disputes.

They asked the Judiciary to be a neutral arbitrator of elections disputes for aggrieved parties.

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