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HomeNewsAfrican Judges Move In To Protect CJ Koome From Ruto's Onslaught

African Judges Move In To Protect CJ Koome From Ruto’s Onslaught

African Judges Move In To Protect CJ Koome From Ruto’s Onslaught

On Monday, January 15, the Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) criticized President William Ruto’s characterization of the judiciary, asserting that his portrayal of it as tyrannical and plagued by impunity is unfounded.

In a declaration, AJFF expressed additional criticism towards Ruto for alleging that the Judiciary, under the leadership of Chief Justice Martha Koome, is working in collaboration with certain opposition figures to obstruct the government’s agenda.

AJFF expressed regret that the President’s statements were viewed as an assault on the Judiciary’s independence and were deemed a potential danger to its continued existence.

“Ruto’s utterances concerning the Judiciary have the effect of intimidating judicial officers from exercising their functions impartially, especially considering that the courts are currently seized with cases in which the legality of certain government policies is being challenged,” the statement read in part.

CJ Martha Koome during the launch of the Administration of Justice in Kenya Annual Report 2022-2023 by the National Council on the Administration of Justice on November 7, 2023. 

Furthermore, the AJFF saw the attacks as undermining trust in the Judiciary’s independence.

AJFF justified its argument by stating that if the courts were to support the government’s agenda, the public might perceive it as yielding to Ruto’s intimidation tactics.

President William Ruto and fellow members of the Kenya Kwanza government have consistently portrayed the Judicial Service Commission as ineffective in addressing issues related to corrupt judges.

The judges, much like Chief Justice Martha Koome, advised Ruto to adhere to the established process for dismissing corrupt judicial officials from their positions.


Instead of appealing to public perception, he was asked to present any evidence he possessed regarding corrupt judges and magistrates.

“Further, AJJF urges the President and government officials to refrain from making public utterances which undermine the independence of the judiciary or unfairly diminish public confidence in the independence of the judiciary, as this has the potential effect of undermining constitutional democracy and could lead to a breakdown of law and order,” the statement read.

Previously, Chief Justice Martha Koome disclosed that she had sent a letter to the President requesting a meeting to resolve the tension between the Executive and Judiciary.

Addressing the public near the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Koome assured that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) would thoroughly examine allegations of misconduct or significant complaints against judicial officers if substantial evidence is presented.

In reaction to the increased pressure on the judiciary, Edwin Sifuna, the Secretary General of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), urged Chief Justice Koome to take a more assertive stance and respond firmly to the government’s actions.

“The next time you address the nation, you should announce that judicial officers shall forthwith down tools in all cases currently pending involving National Government institutions,” he stated.

“It is insulting for a judge to sit and listen to this rogue regime argue cases before them knowing full well that they will later be called corrupt and their decision ignored anyway,” Sifuna remarked adding that the entire Judiciary should deny audience to all national government institutions in any cases pending or yet to be filed.

President William Ruto speaking during a meeting with Jubilee leaders at State House Nakuru on January 11, 2023.

African Judges Move In To Protect CJ Koome From Ruto’s Onslaught