The Linda Katiba movement has launched a scathing attack at the State over what it terms as intimidation and harassment of judicial officers.
While condemning the recent arrests of Justices Said Chitembwe and Aggrey Muchelule by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Linda Katiba says that there has been a troubling and sustained campaign by the Executive to paint the Judiciary in bad light.
According to the movement which is opposed to BBI-driven constitutional amendments, intimidation of the Judiciary and its officers started when the Supreme Court in 2017 nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election win, forcing a fresh election.
“The arrest and questioning of High Court judges [Muchelule and Chitembwe] based on alleged tip-off smacks of intimidation and harassment. It is malicious and despicable abuse of power by the police service which has no place in a democratic Kenya.
“This is happening when the President has stubbornly refused to perform his nominal role of appointing six judges as per the Constitution and is in disobedience of numerous court orders,” reads a statement sent to newsrooms by Linda Katiba on Monday, July 26.
The movement says that judges’ rights must be insulated against all forms of improper influence, coercion, threats, or harassment, direct or indirect.
Linda Katiba is now calling upon Chief Justice Martha Koome to defend the judiciary “which is clearly under severe assault.”
“This is a crucial moment not just for the judiciary but for Kenya and the Chief Justice must firmly defend judges and the independence of the judiciary. Every citizen including the President, has a duty to do what is right,” continues the statement.
CJ Koome: “I’m not aware”
CJ Koome said that she was not aware of the investigations and arrests of the two judges.
“No formal report was made to me as the head of the Judiciary or chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission. The arrest of the two judges has caused anxiety among judges and judicial officers but I want to assure them that they are protected by the Constitution,” said CJ Koome.