CJ Koome is Falling Into a Trap - Experts

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    Chief Justice Martha Koome appears before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) in May 2012
  • According to experts, Chief Justice Martha Koome is walking on a tight rope in her quest to unite the Judiciary and the Executive. Her approach, they warned, may see her fall into a trap that may dent her aspirations. 

    Koome has twice called out President Uhuru Kenyatta in public for rejecting to promote six judges - Joel Ngugi, Weldon Korir, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Evans Kiago and Judith Omange. 

    High Court judges Ngugi, Korir, Odunga and Muchelule were poised to ascend to the Court of Appeal.

    "As Chief Justice and the chairperson of Judicial Service Commission (JSC), all persons recommended for appointment by JSC must be appointed as judges. 

    High Court Judges Joel Ngungi (left) and George Odunga.
    High Court Judges Joel Ngungi (left) and George Odunga.

    "I am duty-bound to reiterate this position and call on President Kenyatta to appoint the six remaining judges four of whom will join this court," Koome urged on Friday, June 11 during the swearing-in of Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga. 

    As much as Koome addressed the issue and managed to witness the appointment, promotion and swearing-in of 34 other judges, renowned lawyer David Matsanga cautioned her against openly castigating Uhuru. 

    Matsanga, who is also the Chairman of the Deterrent Formula Group, stated that Koome may at last fall into the same position former Chief Justices David Maraga and Willy Mutunga were at, engaging in open confrontations with the Executive. 

    The lawyer warned that the ongoing tug-of-war between the Executive and Judiciary has a variety of consequences with the potential to negatively impact the performance of both arms of government and the citizens. 

    "Lady Koome should choose dialogue as opposed to confrontation. Former CJ Maraga chose confrontation and that left anxiety to date.

    "I want to be on record that the former two Chief Justices and few other judicial activist officers were hell-bent to oppose every policy statement originating from the Executive in a bid to undermine President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Government," Matsanga advised Koome. 

    Advocate Apollo Mboya who runs law firm Apollo Mboya & Co-Advocates differed with Matsanga and urged for restraint from Koome's critics. The seasoned lawyer told Kenyans.co.ke that it was too early to judge the CJ and her approach - modus operandi. 

    Mboya argued that the Judiciary, under the constitution, the judiciary is the defender of the law and the Executive the worst lawbreaker. The two should not be friends but should strike an equilibrium. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta poses for a group photo with CJ Martha Koome and 34 judges at State House on Friday, June 4, 2021

    "Fighting with the Executive will affect Kenyans. Being too friendly will also be a cause for alarm. And I differ that she has openly confronted the Executive She spoke in a judicial occasion as mandated and she has to push for her directives," Mboya opined. 

    For Koome to deliver justice in Kenya, Canon Francis Omondi urged her to anchor on her human rights past and activism. 

    "Upholding justice must not be situational, Madam Chief Justice. Justice is about equal rights and access to justice for those denied it. Delivery of justice must start within the judiciary," Omondi, a priest of All Saints Cathedral Diocese Nairobi, and an adjunct lecturer at St. Paul’s University Limuru stated in his column published in the Elephant.