The letter which dressed down the President’s recent Judiciary appointments was dated June 8, 2021 and written on the former CJ’s official letterhead, complete with his signature.
Without mincing his words, Dr Mutunga condemned the apparent violation of the Constitution, schooling Mr President on the meaning of the oath of office he took.
“I have elected to speak elaborately and strongly on this issue because when apparently innocuous and blithe breaches to the Constitution begin to occur, especially from the highest office in the land, they signal a danagerous dalliance with impunity,” Dr Mutunga began his scathing letter to the President.
Dr Mutunga asked President Kenyatta to resign from office, if he felt that he could not uphold the Constitution he swore to obey and protect.
“If any public officer does not like the powers the Constitution donates to them, or find the exercising of those powers annoyingly inconvenient, they have no business continuing to occupy those offices,” the former CJ advised the President.
It’s not personal, Mr President
The former CJ, known for his radical style of leadership, continued to advise President Kenyatta to avoid making the exercise of powers a personal matter.
Dr Mutunga added that the process of hiring judges, as outlined in the Constitution, was “intended precisely to be an antidote to this kind of whimsical and capricious presidential conduct”.
“Most disturbing is the president’s decision to omit the names of six judges and judicial officers from the list. Strikingly, the presidential ‘list of hate’ has even mysteriously change, meaning that the objection to the judges’ nomination is driven more by personal pique rather than principle.
“The president must resist the temptation to be garlanded in the pettiness of performing power, particularly by those who have built thriving pettiness cottage industry, completely consumed by the pursuit of personal vendetta, at the expense of the national good and Kenya’s fledging constitutional democracy,” he stated.
Appoint 6 judges, Mr President
Dr Mutunga asked President Kenyatta to “simply swear in the six judges”.
The former CJ insisted that it is a matter of urgency for President Kenyatta to appoint Court of Appeal nominees Justices George Odunga, Joel Ngugi, Weldon Korir and Aggrey Muchelule as well as Evans Makori and Judith Cheruiyot who had been nominated for the High Court.
“It is urgent that the president immediately appoints the six judges, many of whom are exceptional, because that’s what fairness, common decency, the rule of law and Constitution require. The independence and accountability of the judiciary is not negotiable.
“Mr President, you bear a burden of history to do the right thing for Kenya’s Constitution, her institutions, and the general public. Discharge this burden: Simply do the right thing,” Dr Mutunga’s letter concluded.