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Ruto and CJ Koome confer at State House amidst ongoing tensions

President William Ruto held a meeting with Chief Justice Martha Koome at State House, Nairobi, on January 22, 2024.

President William Ruto with Chief Justice Martha Koome at State House

The meeting was convened to discuss the persistent discord that has unfolded in recent weeks, marked by accusations and counter-accusations between the two branches of the government.

Attendees at the high-stakes meeting included National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Attorney General Justin Muturi, and Solicitor Shadrack Mose.

Chief Justice Koome, acting as the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), initiated the meeting in response to sustained attacks on the Judiciary and its members by the Executive.

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The president, in recent weeks, has leveled accusations against the Judiciary, particularly targeting judges handling cases involving his flagship projects such as affordable housing and the Social Health Insurance Fund.

President Ruto has alleged corruption within the Judiciary, suggesting collusion between judges and his political opponents to hinder critical government projects.

Furthermore, he claimed that some judges are accepting bribes to halt his projects, compromising state policies at the expense of the public interest.

The ongoing rift prompted the JSC to seek a dialogue with the president to address the concerns he raised.

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The meeting aimed to provide a platform for both parties to discuss and potentially find common ground amidst the escalating tensions.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, in her capacity as the head of the Judiciary, has been vocal in responding to President Ruto's accusations.

Through various statements, she vehemently rejected the claims, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the independence of the Judiciary.

The president's comments drew widespread criticism from legal and Judicial bodies, including the Law Society of Kenya and associations representing judges, magistrates, and senior counsel.

These organizations voiced concerns that President Ruto's attacks on the Judiciary could undermine the rule of law and erode public trust in the justice system.

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They cautioned against the potential dangers of such remarks, urging a commitment to upholding the principles of the separation of powers.

As the dialogue continues, it remains to be seen whether the meeting at State House will pave the way for a resolution or further exacerbate the existing tensions.

The clash between the Executive and the Judiciary has not only captured the attention of the nation but has also raised fundamental questions about the delicate balance of power within the Kenyan government.

The coming days are likely to be pivotal in determining the trajectory of this high-stakes confrontation and its implications for the nation's democratic institutions.

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