CJ Maraga warns Government after defying court orders

He has shot at the Government and other officials.

The President of the Judiciary who spoke for the first time since the serial trashing of court orders by the police and the government to switch on TV stations after nearly a week of shut down, told off the government officials, that the orders are not a privileged, but a constitutional requirement, as they “swore to protect the very constitution.”

“I wish to reiterate that every government officer, government institution, or private citizen to comply with Court orders.

“Failure to do so has consequences, and Judges and Magistrates are at liberty to invoke the legal avenues available to enforce orders,” the CJ said in a two page statement on Wednesday.

The tough  talk by the CJ comes amid rising cases of government institutions, namely the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Inspector General of Police Joseph Bonnet and the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) defied orders to implement Court pleadings following the ugly confrontation between the Government and the State.

Last week, the Communications Authority of Kenya was ordered to reinstate three TV signals - KTN News, NTV and Citizen TV - but failed, and later reportedly locked out activist Okiya Omtatah who had gone to the institution to serve alleged order.

Luka Kimaru Orders

In addition, three High Court orders by Judge Luka Kimaru to both the DCI and Inspector General of police Joseph Boinnet to produce deported Miguna Miguna to Court went futile after the two blatantly failed to appear as ordered.

“Compliance with Court orders is not an option for any individual or institution; it is a crucial matter of constitutional and civic obligation.

“If any party is aggrieved by a court order, there are legal mechanisms to have it reviewed, varied or set aside or even appealing against it,” the CJ said in a statement.

The CJ has also ordered all judges and Magistrates to take judicial actions against those who defy court orders as prescribed by law.

“Courts are temples of justice and the places of refuge for those seeking protection. They must never be despoiled either through acts of physical transgressions or blatant disregard of their pronouncements,” the CJ said.

He added: “I want to assure the country that the Judiciary will continue to dispense its constitutional duty with independent and authority.”

The US government last week, in a press statement castigated the Kenyan government for failing to honor court orders terming it a retrogressive act.

In a statement, US ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec said that the US government did not condone the blatant media shut down, and court orders defiance.

"We urge government and all Kenyans to respect freedom of media, expression & to implement court orders calling for restoration of TV broadcasts. Protesters have a right to assemble peacefully, express their views freely, & hold opinions without interference," reads part of the statement.

There have been numerous cases of public outcry to the CJ to intervene and enforce court orders, a move which is set to make heads roll at the Executive and the Judiciary, which are meant to be independent.

CJ Maraga's order has also once been defied by the polls agency, IEBC, during the 2017 presidential petition, in which the Commission failed to open the servers for the results of the controversial August 8, 2017 elections. The Supreme Court, in its final ruling quipped that the failure to open servers by IEBC for scrutiny meant that the "results which declared the third respondent (Uhuru Kenyatta) president were illegal."

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