Economy

Muturi cites House powers to remove CJ in summonses row

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Justin Muturi, Speaker, National Assembly. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has warned that MPs have powers to approve appointment and also initiate the removal of a Chief Justice (CJ).
  • Article 251 stipulates that constitutional office holders like Justice Koome may be removed from office through a petition to the National Assembly and a Tribunal.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has warned that MPs have powers to approve appointment and also initiate the removal of a Chief Justice (CJ).

“Article 95(5)(b) of the Constitution further espouses the role of the National Assembly in exercising oversight of state organs through removal process envisaged under Article 251 of the Constitution on the removal of members of constitutional commissions,” Mr Muturi wrote in a letter on July 22, 2021 to the Chief Justice, Martha Koome.

Article 251 stipulates that constitutional office holders like Justice Koome may be removed from office through a petition to the National Assembly and a Tribunal appointed by the President on grounds of serious violation of the Constitution and gross misconduct.

The standoff between the CJ and Parliament was triggered by summonses to the human resources committee of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over failure to appoint officers substantively.

Justice Koome had on July 7, 2021 written to Mr Muturi freezing further appearances by judicial officers before the National Assembly and the Senate citing multiple and overlapping summonses by the two Houses.Mr Muturi said the oversight role of the National Assembly also involves the approval for the appointment of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice under Article 166(1)(a) of the Constitution.

"Article 95(5)(b) of the Constitution further espouses the role of the National Assembly in exercising oversight of state organs through removal process envisaged under Article 251 of the Constitution on the removal of members of constitutional commissions," Mr Muturi wrote on July 22, 2021.

Constitutional office holders like Justice Koome may be removed from office through a petition to the National Assembly and a Tribunal on the grounds of violating the Constitution and gross misconduct.

Mr Muturi said the Constitution defines boundaries on the oversight role of the National Assembly over the Judiciary and the JSC and the oversight does not in any way interfere with the independence of the Judiciary.

Justice Koome had blocked her officers from responding to audit queries.