CJ Koome, Muturi Supremacy Battle Escalates

Justin Muturi
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi

National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi has fired warning shots at the Judiciary in response to Chief Justice Martha Koome's action to bar staff from answering audit queries.

The Chief Justice had cried foul claiming that parliament is frustrating her staff at the judiciary. The speaker noted that parliament will “return an adverse verdict in their oversight reports.”

“Parliament will hold funds of any state organ including the Judiciary if it is not ready to be accountable.” warned the speaker on Jul 18, 2021.

He was speaking at the Serena Hotel during the closing ceremony for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Executive Committee - African region (CPA).

Chief Justice Martha Koome addressing state actors during the NCAJ meeting in July 16, 2021.
Chief Justice Martha Koome addressing state actors during the NCAJ meeting in July 16, 2021.

Muturi noted that accounting officers have a mandate to appear before parliament when called upon to clarify matters about public funds.

“In doing their work, MPs only seek clarification from the reports and are guided by the principle that nobody should be condemned unheard. Judiciary is the custodian of this principle and it is sad they can choose to advance the kind of argument they are putting through.” He added.

On July 7, 2021 the Chief Justice addressed a letter to the parliamentarians protesting the conduct of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee.

“This tendency of parliament in the exercise of its mandate is worrying and needs to be corrected as it threatens the normal functioning of the Judiciary.” It read.

In reaction to this, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen noted that the Judiciary must interact with the parliamentarians as parliament is the place where resources are shared.

He further advised the Chief Justice to separate her roles as a judicial officer, chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission, and the Judiciary's head.

These battles were sparked by the action of the auditor General, Nancy Gathungu who flagged a staffing issue stating that it was a violation of the Judiciary's human resource policies and procedure manual.

At least 10 senior Judicial staff members are in acting capacity for more than 10 years and there are no signs of confirmation.

An ongoing session in parliament
An ongoing session in parliament