Ngunjiri Wambugu: “Maraga Must Stop Trying to Intimidate Kenyans”
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu has responded to Chief Justice David Maraga’s defense of the Judiciary.
In a press conference yesterday, Maraga defended the Judiciary from attacks that have been witnessed since September 1st when they delivered their ruling to annul Uhuru Kenyatta’s win.
Mr Wambugu, who filed a petition last week seeking to oust Maraga, has responded saying that the CJ “must stop trying to intimidate Kenyans from exercising their Constitutional Rights.”
Citing the constitution, Wambugu argued that every Kenyan has the right to petition the Judicial Service Commission and raise concerns over the conduct of any judge of a superior court.
Read Wambugu’s full statement below.
“Chief Justice David Maraga must stop trying to intimidate Kenyans from exercising their Constitutional Rights
Issued in Nairobi This 19th Day of September 2017
I have noted the statement issued by the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya on behalf of the Judicial Service Commission. As one of those who have exercised their constitutional right to petition the Judicial Service Commission on matters that I deem important, I wish to state the following:
1. All Kenyans have an equal responsibility to uphold and defend the constitution. Article 3 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya exalts every person to “respect, uphold and defend the constitution”. No one person or institution is the custodian of the constitution. We all are. The notion that the protection of the constitution is the responsibility of one institution is fallacious and must be rejected. The people are the custodians of the constitution.
2. Article 3(2) further declares that “any attempt to establish a government otherwise than in compliance with the constitution is unlawful”. Kenyans have a particular obligation to ensure that no one, not even constitutional organs, and certainly not singular arms of government, support the establishment of a government outside the realm of the constitution.
3. On the concerns by the CJ and the JSC on picketing I would like to point out the following:
a. Article 37 of the constitution guarantees all Kenyans the right, peacefully and unarmed, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions to public authorities. There are no indications that any of the demonstrations complained about by the CJ were not peaceful or were by armed persons.
b. Article 20 provides that in interpreting the Bill of Rights courts should promote values that underlie an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality, equity, and freedom. The USA is a pillar of democracy globally. Observers will have noted that the US Supreme Court will have demonstrators picketing outside the US Supreme Court every time a major case is argued. This has never been and cannot be seen as “intimidation”.
c. There have been previous demonstrations outside courts. In fact, very recently NASA supporters demonstrated outside the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Petition against President Uhuru. It is noteworthy that neither the JSC nor the Chief Justice felt the need to issue a statement on that occasion.
4. The constitution of Kenya guarantees the independence of the Judiciary and provides that the Judiciary shall be subject only to the constitution and the law, and shall not be subject to the control of any person or authority. The constitution contemplates complete independence, not just from the Executive and the Legislature, but also from opposition politicians, NGOs, International advocacy and influence peddling groups, or business and social partners of judicial officers.
5. Moreover, the constitution, at Article 168, provides any Kenyan with the right to petition the Judicial Service Commission and raise concerns over the conduct of any judge of a superior court. It empowers the Judicial Service Commission to judiciously consider the petition and if satisfied that the petition discloses any of the grounds stipulated in the constitution as causes for removal, to send the petition to the president with a recommendation to constitute a tribunal to inquire into the matter. It is my sincere hope that the statement by the Chief Justice and the JSC is not an attempt to intimidate and stop us Kenyans from exercising this constitutional right.”
NGUNJIRI WAMBUGU, MP
Member of Parliament, Nyeri Town Constituency