In the recent weeks there has been a tug of war between the Executive and Judiciary arms of government of Kenya, with the executive accusing the judiciary of corruption and threatening to disobey court orders. According to the President of Kenya His excellency William Ruto, some judicial officers have been paid by influential persons to frustrate his projects through issuance of court orders against the projects. These statements by the president made the Law Society of Kenya to hold a demonstration earlier last week to advocate for the independence of the Judiciary.
On 16th of January 2024, the chief justice, Lady Justice Martha Koome held a press conference to address the accusations on the judiciary and she noted that it is regrettable that the leadership of the executive and the legislature have threatened to disobey court orders. She added that judges are human beings and they get hurt when their names are named are dragged in public, labelled as corrupt with no evidence against them.
These statements are worrisome and leave us wondering, are our leaders publicly declaring contempt of court? The dignity of the court and authority needs to upheld and respected; the directions of the court should follow with compliance to ensure the observance and respect of due process of law. This way we will be able to preserve an effective and impartial system of justice and maintain public confidence in the administration of justice as administered by court.
Contempt of court is wilful disobedience of any judgement, decree, direction or order given by a court. The Courts have been given the jurisdiction to punish contempt of court when one wilfully assaults, threatens, intimidates a judicial officer or a witness or when on disobeys the direction of the court.