President William Samoei Ruto has come out to clear the air about the accusations that were levelled against him of trying to use his power to influence the operations of the Judiciary.
The criticism, which is mainly from Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga, began after Ruto appointed the six judges rejected by his predecessor, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, immediately after assuming office in late September.
At the time, Odinga dismissed the appointments as a ploy to control the Judiciary. He also took issue with the president’s promise to increase the Judiciary fund by Ksh.3 billion every year, saying the Head of State was tampering with its independence.
Ruto critics have also questioned his presence at many Judiciary functions since assuming office, the latest ones being the launch of the annual state of the Judiciary report last month and Monday’s release of the Administration of Justice Report by Chief Justice Martha Koome.
During the event held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, the president said he has not tried in any way to influence Judiciary’s affairs, adding that his presence is to support the government arm to carry out its mandates.
“I know there is a discussion as to why I am appearing in too many functions of the Judiciary. They can confirm to you that I have never put a telephone call to anybody to ask them to do anything,” said Ruto.
“My support for the Judiciary is so that they can effectively deliver justice to the people of Kenya, period.”
At the same time, Ruto assured CJ Koome that the four incomplete Small Claims Courts in Nairobi will be ready for operation in 90 days.
“I will talk with the Governor of Nairobi so that we expedite the completion of the pending four Small Claims Courts because Small Claims Courts are a bottom-up benefit and madam CJ, I want to assure you that we will hand them over to you in 90 days,” the President stated.
The president noted that he is aware of the big role played by the Small Claims Courts in the administration of justice, adding that his administration will facilitate the project in spite of current budgetary constraints.