President Kenyatta’s government accused of constantly disobeying court orders
Published on: May 25, 2021 11:29 (EAT)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Judiciary are yet again at loggerheads after the Head of State officially oversaw the takeover of the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defense. This happening despite a court order halting the transfer; the Monday takeover is the latest in a string of disregarded court orders by the Executive. “The High Court has rendered itself, Justice Mrima was very clear and I believe his decision was very sound…that particular decision by the President, even as we speak, stands unconstitutional,” said Constitutional Lawyer Dan Oketch. The KMC handover took place despite a court order in place quashing the transfer on the premise of such a move being unconstitutional and in violation of Article 10 of the Constitution as there was no public participation to merit the transfer. “The government has actually appealed that decision, but there is no stay order of any sort that has been acquired by the Attorney General to that particular extent. The status then, is as Justice Mrima had indicated,” added Oketch. The simmering cold war between the two arms of government dates back to the promulgation of the Constitution but took a nosedive during the reign of retired Chief Justice David Maraga. “We don’t fall short of examples to demonstrate that the government and its State agents have no respect for court orders, decisions and declarations, which is a recipe for anarchy. Any country governed by the rule of law must respect court orders,” stated lawyer Oketch A dramatic exchange between the Judiciary and the Executive was evident in early February 2018 where numerous court orders for firebrand lawyer Miguna Miguna to be produced in court and declaring his deportation order illegal were disregarded by the State. The courts last year ordered the president to appoint 41 judges nominated to take up various positions in the Judiciary, a directive which has never been effected. In its defense, the Executive said some of the judges had question marks on their integrity. The relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive has at best been frosty for years, now as the new Chief Justice assumes office, her in-tray will be part to unlock the stalemate with the Executive.