Friday, December 11, 2020 – Chief Justice David Maraga has gone ham on President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, over their proposal to seize Judiciary powers through their Building Bridges Initiative.

Maraga, who leaves office today, criticized the BBI’s Constitutional Amendment Bill, noting that it undermines the judiciary and seeks to entrench executive grip on the judicial arm of government. 

He warned that if the bill becomes law, it could potentially trigger a constitutional crisis by creating the office of the Ombudsman in the judiciary.

There already exists an office of the judicial ombudsman appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

“Creation of a new Ombudsman appointed by the President and approved by the Senate would be duplication of roles as an alternative channel already exists in the office of the Judiciary ombudsman, potentially causing a constitutional quagmire.”

Contrary to the spirit of the 2010 constitution, which advocates for judicial independence, the new ombudsman would be accountable to the executive since the holder of the office will be appointed by the president and approved by the senate, further entrenching the executive’s grip on the judiciary. 

Maraga protested that the move would result in erosion of hard-earned public trust in the judiciary. 

The new Ombudsman would bypass the checks and balances of the JSC since the holder of the office is accountable to the executive further eroding trust in the judiciary.

Among the duties outlined for the new office in the BBI include receiving and conducting inquiries into complaints against judges, registrars, magistrates, and other judicial officers and staff of the Judiciary.


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