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Judiciary condemns attacks from
political class amid heated campaigns

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan Judiciary on Tuesday slammed ongoing attacks from a section of the country’s political elite and vowed to discharge its duties without fear and impartiality.

Chief Justice and chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) David Maraga decried threats and intimidation targeting the judiciary since the nullification of presidential election results on Sept. 1 by the apex court.

“These attacks have become even more aggressive, culminating in lengthy uninterrupted demonstrations right outside the Supreme Court Building Monday and Tuesday,” said Maraga.

Supporters from the ruling Jubilee Coalition on Tuesday staged demonstrations in Nairobi and Rift Valley towns of Nakuru and Eldoret over annulment of presidential elections results by judges at the apex court.

The protesters singled out some judges for condemnation saying their decision to invalidate the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory was unfair.

However, Maraga decried a volley of attacks targeting judicial officers to prevent them from discharging their mandate as stipulated in the constitution.

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga is seen during the Supreme Court’s detailed judgment in Nairobi, Sept. 20, 2017. The Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered its full judgment on the nullification of the Aug. 8 presidential election. XINHUA PHOTO: FRED MUTUNE

“Judicial officers and particularly judges of the Supreme Court have been attacked, threatened and negatively profiled on social media,” Maraga said.

“These attacks are demeaning and are meant to intimidate, threaten and cow the institution and individual judges,” he added.

Kenya’s independent institutions including the judiciary and the electoral body have come under stinging attack from both sides of the political divide ahead of repeat presidential polls slated for Oct. 17.

The Supreme Court ordered the repeat presidential election after nullifying the one held on August 8, citing massive irregularities.

Leaders from the ruling Jubilee Coalition and their supporters have trained their guns on the Supreme Court while their opposition counterparts have directed criticism at senior officials at the electoral body for bungling polls.

The Chief Justice said that an appeal for additional security for senior judicial officers is yet to be honored despite the myriad threats facing them.

“Judicial Service Commission notes with dismay that the Inspector General of Police who is expected to provide security to all government facilities has repeatedly ignored calls to act, exposing judicial officers, property and litigants to danger,” said Maraga.

He reaffirmed the independence of the Judiciary in the face of sustained attacks from the political class.

“The Judiciary is an arm of the government, equal to the Executive and the Legislature. If leaders are tired of having a strong and independent judiciary, they should call a referendum and abolish it altogether,” Maraga said.

He added that the Judiciary will discharge its mandate without fear or favor as Kenya gears up for repeat presidential polls.

He said they will never seek directions on how they perform their duties adding that anybody who wants to intimidate them should stop.

“These demos are bordered on violence and are intended to intimidate the judiciary,” Maraga said, noting that the attacks and the protests shall never be allowed to happen at a time when the judiciary is beginning to hear the petitions.

Maraga said the JSC’s position is that those behind the attacks against the judiciary will be held personally liable for any injuries inflicted upon judges, or their families.

“If anything happens to individual judges, staff and their families, those making inciting statements will be held responsible,” he said.

He said the judiciary will not take directives from other arms of government on how it should execute its mandate.

“We will not allow anybody to dictate us on how we discharge our mandate ...we want to state that the rule of law must be allowed to take place at all times. Judiciary as constituted shall not guarantee a particular outcome to any individual,” he added.


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