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Maraga speaks out on defiance of court orders

Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court on October 25, 2017. Photo | Jeff Angote | Nairobi
Chief Justice David Maraga. Photo | Jeff Angote | Nairobi 

Chief Justice David Maraga has strongly defended the Judiciary, saying that court orders must be obeyed by all.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Justice Maraga said that while he does not ordinarily comment on matters that are actively in court, he had noted recent worrying developments in the administration of justice that threaten the rule of law.

The CJ said disregard of court orders is an act that is not only inimical to the rule of law but also completely at odds with Kenya’s constitutional outlook.

“Compliance with court orders is not an option for any individual or institution. Neither is it a favour to be doled out to the Judiciary. Rather it is a crucial matter of constitutional and civic obligation,” he said, adding that if a party feels aggrieved by a court decision, they can seek to have it reviewed or varied or appeal to have the order set aside.

To disobey a court order is not only a violation of the constitution but also a dereliction of public duty, the CJ said.

“I wish to reiterate that every government officer, institution or private citizen are obliged to comply with court orders. Failure to do so has consequences and judges and magistrates are at liberty to enforce those orders,” said the chief justice.

'Temples of justice'

Mr Maraga said courts are temples of justice and places of refuge for those seeking protection.

“They must never be despoiled either through acts of physical transgressions or blatant disregard of their pronouncements,” he said.

Justice Maraga made the comments after the government "deported" lawyer Miguna Miguna despite an order by Justice Luka Kimaru that he be brought before him.

Instead, Mr Miguna was Tuesday evening put on a KLM flight and taken to Canada, with the governmnet saying he renounced his Kenyan citizenship, a claim he has denied.

Police IG Summoned

Justice Kimaru has summoned the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to appear before him next week and explain why they should not be punished for disobeying a court order.

Lawyer Allen Gichuhi urged the Law Society of Kenya to immediately convene an urgent meeting and discuss the action they will take regarding the issue.

“I beseech the council, in consultation with all the branch chairs, to urgently hold a crisis meeting and discuss the action that the society will take to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

“It is time we move to court and uphold the Constitution and the rule of law and seek the immediate return of Dr Miguna Miguna. Let us not wait for Mr Okiya Omtatah to upstage us in this urgent matter,” he said.

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