Shortly after the Supreme Court nullified the August 8th Presidential elections, Jubilee supporters staged demonstrations that surprisingly weren’t interrupted by the police. The demonstration were coordinated in a number of Jubilee strong holds and those demonstrating in Nairobi went as far as trying to break the Supreme Court gates chanting, “Maraga must go!”
These demonstrations according to the Chief Justice were as a result of incitement from political leaders. And in a strongly worded address to the media, the Chief Justice, flanked by members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) told the country that if politicians were tired of a strong and independent Judiciary, they can call a referendum and abolish it all together.
We were all in awe; this was music to the ears of those who have lived through Kenyatta I, and Moi regimes. Never before had we seen the Judiciary stand eyeball to eyeball with the Executive or Legislature and tell them, “Judiciary is ready to pay the ultimate price to protect the rule of law.”
Unfortunately, the Legislature, which should be the real voice of the people seemed to be interested in safe-guarding the interest of the Executive. The events leading up to the October 26th elections revealed a most arrogant and reckless crop of leaders from the two arms of government considering the scathing attacks on the Judiciary. Things got so out of hand that a number of MPs utilized every opportunity to degrade and disrespect the Judiciary. They were taking a cue from both the President and his Deputy who had promised to re-visit the matter.
Seeing as the Judiciary budget was nearly halved; it is not hard to see this as the Executive and Legislative arms of government‘s re-visiting’ this matter as they promised. However, nothing paints the full picture of this vengeance campaign better than a press statement by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) on the state of the Judiciary in light of the drastic cuts in budgetary allocations. ICJ put it to the media that budgetary cuts was a tool the Legislature found very useful to punish the Judiciary.