Speaker cites powers to remove CJ Koome as stand off escalates

Martha Koome's first few months in office have seen her clash with the Executive, the Legislature and critics in the legal sector.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Chief Justice Martha Koome

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi cited Parliament’s powers to remove the Chief Justice in a letter to the current office holder Martha Koome.

Speaker Muturi warned that MPs have powers to appoint and initiate the CJ’s removal further escalating the standoff between Parliament and the Judiciary.

The stale between the CJ and Parliament was triggered by summonses to the human resources committee of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over failure to appoint officers substantively.

However, Koome halted judicial officials' appearances before the National Assembly and the Senate, citing the two Houses' numerous and overlapping summonses.

"Article 95(5)(b) of the Constitution further espouses the role of the National Assembly in exercising oversight of state organs through removal process envisaged under Article 251 of the Constitution on the removal of members of constitutional commissions," Muturi’s latest letter read.

Constitutional office holders, such as Justice Koome, can be removed from office through a petition to the National Assembly and a Tribunal on the basis of constitutional violations and grave misconduct.

The Chief Justice first few months in office have seen her clash with the Executive, the Legislature and critics in the legal sector.

The recent arrest of Justices Aggrey Muchelule and Said Juma Chitembwe caused anxiety in the Judiciary.

“I assure all judges and judicial officers that the independence of the Judiciary and their constitutional duties is protected by the Constitution. They should therefore continue discharging their duties without any fear in accordance with their oath of office,” CJ Koome said in a statement read.

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