Kiambu senator wants special court established to handle cases challenging gov’t policies

Thursday, January 4th, 2024 16:43 | By
Kiambu senator wants special court established to handle cases challenging gov't policies
Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang'wa during a past address. PHOTO/Karungo wa Thang'wa/Facebook

Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang'wa has proposed the establishment of a special court to handle petitions challenging government policies amid President William Ruto's claims that some judicial officers are sabotaging government projects.

In a statement on Thursday, January 4, 2024, the outspoken lawmaker said he had already written to the Senate outlining his intentions to amend both the High Court and the Judicial Service Commission Acts to establish a court similar to the Employment and Environmental courts.

"The objective is to establish a Policies Court within the High Court, dedicated to handling litigations challenging government policies, akin to the existing Employment and Environmental Courts in the High Court," Senator Thang'wa stated.

According to the legislator, the new court will be subject to a timeline, possibly 30 days, within which the cases should be concluded.

He has also proposed a raft of reforms at JSC including restructuring of the commission's membership "to ensure accountability" in the third arm of government.

"Judges should undergo periodic assessments, similar to the evaluation of politicians every five years or through impeachment proceedings," he added.

The proposals come hot on the heels of criticism against President Ruto over his sustained attacks on the judiciary.

President Ruto stirred a storm after revealing intentions to defy court orders on Tuesday.

Speaking at a funeral in Nyandarua County, Ruto accused some judges of being corrupt and colluding with cartels to sabotage government projects.

“We will not allow these people to derail our plans,” he said as he directed Roads Principal Secretary Joseph Mbugua to move with speed and allocate funds for the construction of a road in Nyandarua County which had stalled following a court order.

The president further claimed that some judges had been compromised to halt implementations of key programmes including the Housing Levy and new healthcare laws. He said his government will stop judicial impunity by corrupt judicial officers at all costs.

"I want to announce here that few people with vested interests who are beneficiaries of corruption in NHIF are now ganging up with corrupt judicial officers to stall reforms so that fake hospitals claims will continue. I want to assure you that this will not happen in Kenya again and we will stop it," he said.

The remarks attracted criticism from JSC through its chair Chief Justice Martha Koome, Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who accused Ruto of an attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

Koome called on the judges to continue discharging their duties without fear or favour. She also appealed to any aggrieved parties to lodge a complaint with JSC.

“The JSC wishes to reaffirm the independence and integrity of the Judiciary as a co-equal arm of government, as enshrined in the Constitution and urges all Judges and Judicial Officers to continue performing their judicial duties without fear or favour. The Judiciary should live up to the constitutional edict, in Article 160(1), that safeguards the exercise of judicial authority,” Koome said.

“Attacking judges and Judicial Officers who made a decision in public undermines all the values of our Constitutional order. Such attacks or comments when made on matters which are pending before any court also violate the sub judice imperative which is a rule of law," she added.

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