President Ruto sparks judiciary controversy in Kenya

Kenya’s President Ruto stirs controversy criticizing judiciary integrity, sparking nationwide debates.

Kenya’s President William Ruto faces severe backlash after his recent comments on the country’s judiciary sparked controversy. During a Tuesday event, Ruto accused “corrupt” judges of colluding with “cartels” to obstruct his administration’s projects.

Since assuming office in September 2022, the president introduced two widely unpopular taxes amidst a significant cost-of-living crisis. Ruto’s remarks targeted what he deemed “judicial impunity,” vowing to halt it and even threatening to defy court orders.

Chief Justice Martha Koome swiftly reacted, expressing concern that Ruto’s statements could undermine Kenya’s rule of law, fostering public suspicion and eroding trust in the judiciary.

Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission also voiced unease over the president’s remarks in a separate statement. Opposition leader Raila Odinga condemned Ruto’s stance as intimidation and disrespect for the rule of law.

In his defense, Ruto reaffirmed his commitment to combatting corruption, insisting he would continue the fight. On social media, he pledged to eradicate corruption and prevent any attempts to influence judges to hinder Kenya’s development.

The Law Society of Kenya urged peaceful nationwide demonstrations in support of the rule of law and solidarity with the judiciary. President Eric Thueri emphasized the need for Ruto, as the primary guardian of the rule of law, to challenge decisions through legal channels rather than undermining the judiciary.

Despite these calls for judicial respect, President Ruto reiterated his determination to eliminate individuals he believes obstruct his government through court orders. While acknowledging upright judicial officers, he adamantly stated his opposition to any form of bribery within the judiciary.

Ruto emphasized his commitment to preventing any manipulation of the legal system to impede Kenya’s progress. The president asserted his stance against bribing judges, emphasizing that such practices would not be tolerated during his tenure.

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