AFRICA/KENYA - President of the Bishop's Conference: "Everyone must respect the rule of law"

Friday, 2 February 2024 bishops   politics  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - "We have been advising Kenyans to respect the law. Even before the elections in 2022 we called on Kenyans to remain peaceful and where they were not happy with the outcome of the election, they should seek legal redress in court and it happened", said Martin Kivuva, Archbishop of Mombasa and President of the Kenya Catholic Bishops Conference (KCCB), who urged President William Ruto to respect the rule of law. Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the dialogue and mediation forum for peace and cohesion in Mombasa which brought together representatives of the Church of Mombasa, Muslim leaders and security officials on February 1, Mgr Kivuva recalled the clashes between the President and the Supreme Court. "We all saw the tension that followed afterwards", he stressed. This tendency where our leader is advised by the courts and he defies can lead us into troubles. And this is true everywhere, from high-ranking officials to ordinary citizens". President Ruto has launched a series of attacks on the justice system, accusing some unnamed judges of corruption and criticizing those who have turned to the courts to stop government projects. Two government measures were stopped by the judiciary. One of them is of international importance because it involves the sending of a contingent of Kenyan police officers to Haiti as part of a security mission led by Kenya. On January 26, the Kenyan High Court ruled that the National Security Council of Kenya (chaired by Ruto) did not have the power to deploy the police outside the country's borders, unlike the army (see Fides 26/1/2024). The Court also stressed that there must be a mutual agreement between the two countries before deployment.
The same day another court ordered the government to suspend payments of a new housing tax. President Ruto does not seem to be giving up and, regarding the mission in Haiti, he declared that it "continues". The clash between the presidency and the judiciary, according to the president of the Episcopal Conference, constitutes an imminent danger and risks dragging the country into the past murky days of “survival of the fittest,” where some people follow the law, while others use violence and weapons to force their way. A danger increased by the fact that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) does not yet have a new President. "We all saw what happened at IEBC. It disintegrated following what happened after the elections. It is the responsibility of those concerned, including the President, to ensure that the IEBC is operational," he noted, recalling that the date of local elections to be held in some parts of Kenya is approaching. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/2/2024)