LSK calls out Ruto over his sword remarks, terms them threat to judiciary

Monday, December 18th, 2023 18:13 | By
LSK calls out Ruto over his sword remarks, term them threat to judiciary
LSK calls out Ruto over his sword remarks, term them threat to judiciary

President William Ruto has come under heavy criticism from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) following his recent remarks suggesting the use of his ceremonial sword to deal with persons opposing the Housing Levy through the courts.

In a statement on Monday, December 18, LSK President Eric Therui termed the remarks a direct threat to the third arm of government - the judiciary.

"The President's statements, which seem to label those utilizing constitutional court processes to question government decisions as adversaries of national progress, are a direct threat to the rule of law and administration of justice. As a primary defender of public interest, the LSK finds such characterizations misleading and deeply troubling," Theuri stated.

The LSK boss said the Head of State should respect the ongoing constitutional processes regarding the matter including an appeal lodged by the government challenging the High Court's ruling that declared the levy unconstitutional.

"The essence of our democracy lies in its commitment to human rights and adherence to the rule of law principles that must guide all governmental actions. The utterances by the President amount to a threat to the Court, which is scheduled to hear and determine the appeal, and undermine the authority of the Court," he added.

Ruto made the remarks during a thanksgiving mass in Kisii on Saturday, where expressed his intention to use the ceremonial sword to "weed out crooks" opposing the 1.5 per cent levy introduced by his administration in July.

"Si mnajua nilipewa sword. Kwani mnafikiri hiyo sword ni ya kukata mboga? Si ni ya kufyeka wakora hapa? Nitawafyeka kabisa, Kenya itasonga mbele," Ruto remarked.

Loosely translated, "You know I was given a sword. Do you think it's for cutting vegetables? It's for dealing with all these crooks here. I will uproot them completely, and Kenya will move forward."

At the same time, Theuri noted that the society was reviewing a bill tabled in the National Assembly by the government, seeking to regularise the levy, for purposes of public participation.

The Law Society also raised concerns about the recent re-emergence of incidences of enforced disappearance following President Ruto's 'mambo ni matatu' remarks, which were perceived as a death threat to 'cartels' in the sugar sector.

The President, who was speaking in Bungoma county in August, accused influential businessmen fighting over the control of Mumias Sugar Company of frustrating efforts to revive ailing public sugar millers in the Western region.

The sugar barons, Ruto said, had three options left, "they either move out, go to jail or embark on the journey to heaven."

"Those statements (mambo ni matatu) were followed by threats to parties who had cases in court to withdraw the same, and we are aware that several advocates were harassed and intimidated for representing clients cases, leading to the coerced withdrawal of cases.

"The increased incidence of the use of extra-constitutional means to resolve court cases is a trend that poses significant risks to the rule of law in this country," Theuri stated.

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