BY SAM ALFAN.
Chief Justice David Maraga has put politicians on notice against making reckless and inflammatory statements during and afterthe campaign period preceding the August 8 General Election.
Justice Maraga reiterated that the judiciary was independent and impartial and will not entertain manipulation, control or influence from any quarters.
The Head of the Judiciary said allofficers and staff had been adequately trained to handle election disputes and did not expect malicious propaganda from parties who have been aggrieved by decisions made by the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal, the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
He said magistrates and Judges only relied on facts and the law while hearing and determining cases. It was futile for disgruntled elements to claim judicial officers were being directed on how to handle their constitutional mandate, he pointed out.
“I will not respond to reckless statements from politicians during the campaign period. I want Kenyans to have confidence in the Judiciary as an independent and impartial institution,” Justice Maraga said when he presided over the swearing-in of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu as a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Justice Mwilu, who doubles as the Vice-President of the Supreme Court, was appointed as a member of the JSC by President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 12 upon unanimous election by the seven-member bench to represent it to the top decision-making organ of the Judiciary. She replaces Justice Smoking Wanjala who completed his tenure recently.
Justice Maraga, who chairs the JSC, expressed confidence in Justice Mwilu and hoped she will make her contribution in steering the Judiciary to greater heights. She promised to work closely with her Supreme Court colleagues and the 10-member JSC.
The Chief Justice said the seven-member Political Parties Disputes Tribunal had concluded the majority of 250 petitions that were filed by candidates who complained of malpractices during the nominations. 32 appeals are pending adjudication by the High Court.
He said he had sanctioned the tribunal, chaired by veteran lawyer Kyalo Mbobua, to work overtime and during weekends to clear the huge number of petitions filed from across the country at the Milimani law courts in Nairobi. The Judiciary was well prepared to handle disputes that will arise following the impending polls, he added.