ODM leader Raila Odinga has waded into the ongoing row between the Judiciary and the Executive over the rejection of six judges by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila challenged the President to make public the reasons for his refusal to appoint the judges, four of whom to the Court of Appeal, as recommended to him by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
“I challenge the Executive arm of government, to share with the Judiciary and the public the concerns and evidence that led to the rejection of the six,” Raila said.
In a statement on Saturday, Raila said the country deserves an informed debate rather than a shouting match on the critical matter as the appointment of the judges.
“The people of Kenya deserve to know why the various branches of their government take the positions they do on an issue critical to nation as appointment of judges,” he said.
The former prime minister’s statement came at the height of a row between the President and the Judiciary over the appointment of the judges.
Last week, the President rejected the nomination of the six, among them top High Court Judges – Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule and Weldon Korir- who had been earmarked for promotion to the Court of appeal.
The rejection sparked bitter reactions with Chief Justice Martha Koome and her predecessors David Maraga and Willy Mutunga taking on the president for violating the constitution and attempting to control the Judiciary.
“I am a judge and I do not want to enter into any controversy but I am duty bound to reiterate this position and call on President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint the remaining six judges,” Koome said during the swearing in of Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga on Friday.
Raila said the ongoing dispute between the arms of government is against the constitutional principles and only serves to disadvantage the common man.
He called on the leaders of the three arms of government to urgently strike a middle ground and work in harmony as envisioned in the constitution.
“I would therefore appeal to all the leaders of our three branches of government, the President, the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate, and the Chief Justice, to urgently seek common ground in their respective powers in order to achieve a more effective government of the people, by the people and for the people,” he said.
He added, “In doing this, each must avoid a theoretical pursuit of ideals that don’t serve the people.”
Raila reiterated that though independent, the three arms are interdependent and that no single branch can operate without the other.
“The fact is that no one branch of government can help Kenyans solve their problems without the help of the other. No one institution can become the sole and undisputed liberator of the people of Kenya.
“Any attempt by any one arm of the government to outshine the others or to show that it’s the one that matters the most only works to hurt the common Kenyan and the interests of the nation,” he said.