President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order to restructure Judiciary under executive control has been declared unconstitutional, null, void and contrary by the High Court.
Kenyatta signed the Executive Order No. 1 of 2020, dated January 14, 2020, on May 11, 2020, moving the Judiciary, Judicial Service Commission, and 39 other ministries, commissions, and independent offices under the Attorney-General and various cabinet secretaries.
Delivering the judgement, Judge James Aaron Makau, found that it is unconstitutional for Kenyatta to purport to organize government and set out Judiciary commissions and independent offices.
”A declaration be and is Hereby issued that the Executive Order Number 1 of 2020, issued on 14″, January, 2020, (Revised) purporting to organize the government and set out Judiciary and Its Tribunals, Commissions and Independent offices as institutions under the functions of ministries and government departments and other constitutional bodies are unconstitutional, null and void and contrary to the Constitution of Kenya, 2010.” the ruling reads.
The Judicial Service Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights, and the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission are among the institutions that would have been moved to executive control.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) filed a lawsuit, claiming that the directive was unlawful and infringed on the independence of the commissions.
This came after the former Chief Justice David Maraga publicly criticised the president after the release of executive order claiming that the Head of State had illegally altered the Judiciary’s organisational structure.
The Attorney General objected to the interim ruling, claiming that the disputed executive order “enjoys the presumption of validity and constitutionality.”
Furthermore, the AG claimed that there was no evidence that granting the interim order would ‘enhance constitutional values… in the Bill of Rights.’