Lawyers threaten to sue CJ Koome over new rule for presidential petitions

CJ Koome named Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Esther Ang'awa and Nelson Havi for being notorious in violating the rule

CJ Martha Koome

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has threatened to sue Chief Justice Martha Koome after she issued a gag order ahead of the 2022 presidential election and the petitions that may reach the Supreme Court thereafter.

CJ Koome introduced the new order through an amendment of Rule 18 of the Supreme Court which bars advocates from commenting on petitions filed in court.

“Upon commencement of the hearing of the petition by the court, litigants, their advocates and advocates’ agents shall refrain from expressing their opinion on merit, demerit or predict the outcome of the petition in any manner that would prejudice or impede court proceedings, until judgment is delivered,” reads the new directive by the CJ.

According to LSK President Eric Theuri, the directive by the president of the Judiciary is drastic, unjustifiable and ambiguous.

The lawyer’s body has threatened to go to court to challenge the move by the CJ noting that they were not consulted on the directive.

“She should have presented the rules to LSK and other stakeholders to look at them and make comments before they were gazetted.

"LSK was not aware of the amendments; we learned about them in the Gazette Notice,” Theuri said.

He added that the decision of the court could not be influenced by comments or conversations surrounding the matter by lawyers.

“Judges are perceived to be blind to comments made on social media because they make their rulings on the basis of the facts and evidence presented to them,” Theuri explained.

CJ Koome had pointed out former LSK President Nelson Havi, Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdhullahi and Esther Ang’awa as being notorious for making comments on pending petitions through social media.

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