Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has hit out at President Uhuru Kenyatta over what he termed as the Head of State’s constant disregard of the constitution.
In an open letter to the president, the lawyer argues that people who assume public office take oath to respect and protect the constitution failure to which resignation is an option.
“Nothing in the oath says, ‘I will obey and protect only those aspects of the constitution that I find convenient and self fulfilling; so help me God’. The oath is comprehensive, total and unqualified; and its administration is not an exercise in jest, but rather a very solemn commitment to conscience and to country, to self and to the public in the performance of public duty held in trust for the Kenyan people,” read part of the letter from Mutunga
“If any public officer does not like the powers the constitution donates to them or find executing those powers inconvenient, they have no business to occupy those offices. Resignation and voluntary retirement are readily available options,” went on Mutunga is a strongly worded letter to the President.
The straw that broke the camel’s back is Uhuru’s refusal to appoint six judges who were part of 41 recommended by the Judicial Service Commission.
Uhuru declined their appointment on grounds they had questionable characters but this did not go down with the majority in the legal profession who said the Head of State has no mandate to decline appointing judges who have been interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission as found suitable for appointment to bigger posts.
“It is disappointing that this standoff, needlessly occasioned by presidential stubbornness, has recurred. Sadly, it has done so in a manner that lowers the esteem of the office, undermines the rule of law and erodes public confidence..,” said he lawyer.
The development comes barely days after the ex-CJ said in an interview with a local publication that Uhuru has disregarded the constitution so much he deserves to be impeached.
In the June 3 interview Mutunga revealed that it was not easy to be a judge.
“Judges face all manner of pressures, so it’s a very lonely place where a judge has to find out whether his spouse or her spouse is talking to politicians and promising them stuff,” he said.
According to a State House insider, one of the Judges was found to have received a bribe to rule in favour of a land grabber.
Another is said to have been haunted by his judgments on terrorism and drug trafficking cases.
Even before the case of judges appointments president Uhuru has had several conflicts with the judiciary.
Recently, he was accused of threatening the judiciary after he protested a ruling by the High Court declaring BBI report null and void.
Uhuru is also on the spot for transferring the Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of defence.
Despite a court order barring Uhuru from militarizing KMC, the Head of State said he has faith in the military.
Even with the public uproar, Uhuru is up and about minding his business.
Currently, Uhuru Kenyatta is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for an official visit during which he is scheduled to witness the issuance of a telecommunications license to Safaricom.