Raila: "Why the Executive is in a rush to allocate money to Judiciary"

On Friday September 16, Azimio leader Raila Odinga gave a speech at the Azimio Parliamentary Group retreat in Machakos. Below is the speech in full

for Tv47 Digital September 16, 2022, 04:03 PM
Raila Odinga
Azimio presidential contender Raila Odinga. PHOTO/REUTERS

1. Let me begin by congratulating each one of you on your election to lead your people and to make a contribution to the destiny of our country.

2. As I stated during our final rally on the 6th of August 2022 at Kasarani, we went to the polls with our country at inflection point. I stated back then that either something very good would happen, or something terrible would happen.

3. I said we had a choice of the Promised Land, but the Land of Bondage was also within sight and the pharaoh was refusing to let our people go. As we gather here, that reality is with us.

4. We have had the worst election since the return of multi-party politics. At the presidential level, it is not possible to tell whether we had elections at all. But even at the lower level polls, I believe that a number of our people were rigged out to pave way for a UDA majority and that during election petitions, this will be proved to have been the case.

5. But I mention petitions with some trepidation. First, you have noticed the corruption, the dysfunction, the incompetence and the capture of IEBC, the body charged with carrying out elections in the country.

6. Secondly, you have noticed the attitude, the thuggery, the corruption and the cynicism of the Supreme Court judges. The words that the Chief Justice used against us have never been used in our courts even in the dark days of single party rule and State capture of the Judiciary.

7. Chief Justice Martha Koome described our case, presented by the country’s finest legal minds, as “no more than hot air,” “a wild goose chase,” “incredible and hearsay evidence,” red herring.” These were words of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.

8. It is my experience that whenever judges resort to insults on litigants and advocates, it is the result of a disturbed conscience. We have been here before. We have come from a Judiciary that invested in threats and humiliation of litigants and advocates so that the country would not question them. That is the Supreme Court we witnessed in the presidential election case.

9. We also have come from a judiciary that invested in intimidation. Today, the Supreme Court is threatening those talking against the judgment in the presidential petition. According to Madam Martha Koome, that judgment is not supposed to be discussed by anyone anywhere. The Court Registrar has already issued threats on those who have criticized the despicable judgment of the court.

10. In fact Justice Isaac Lenaola is publicly accused of threatening one of the petitioners, Senator Okiya Omtata, with ruination, over his stand on the court judgment.

11. And the Chief Justice has gone out, to a funeral in her village, and defended the judgment, even before she gives out the detailed ruling. The Supreme Court is now in politics.

12. From our history as a country, we know this is an indication of a very disturbed conscience. It is evidence of a court that sold its soul.

13. The actions of the Chief Justice are clearly sycophantic. She has demeaned the dignity of the office of Chief Justice. In less than a year she has destroyed what her predecessors achieved in 10 years.

14. As if this is not bad enough, there is clearly a push by the Executive to own the judiciary through illegal actions that amount to bribery. That is the reason for the rush to appoint six judges and allocate money to the Judiciary.

15. That is the reason for the rush by the Executive to allocate specific amount of money to the Judiciary. Financial allocation to institutions and State agencies is done by parliament based on a scrutiny of budget proposals presented by the institutions. In this case, the Executive has given itself that role. It is a plain attempt to capture the judiciary through bribery.

16. As I stated throughout the campaign, we believe in the Rule of Law and Democracy. We believe in autonomy and independence of the Judiciary and separation of powers between the three arms of government.

17. The presidential election petition should have been a victory for the rule of law and democracy in Kenya and across Africa.

18. Our expectation has been that every Supreme Court petition, and each Supreme Court decision strengthens the rule of law and deepens democracy in our country. Today, I have fears about where Koome’s ruling leaves our election and democracy now and in future.

19. This is how it starts. We know how it will end and what the cost of it will be. In the 1960s and 70s, it started as a war against specific individuals and communities.

20. By the time it was in full bloom, no Kenyan was safe from the state terror. It has started again.

21. We have three urgent tasks that we must not fail in and on which we must embark immediately:

a) To save the judiciary which is offering itself for State capture.

b) To transform and reform the IEBC and make it capable of conducting credible elections.

c) To stop the legislature from offering itself for State capture and have it play its oversight role over the government. Parliament must say no to attempts by a rogue Executive to intimidate and profile civil servants and security agencies.

22. Parliament must stand up and preserve our multiparty politics.

23. When the law doesn’t rule, thuggery does. In a government awash with thugs, we must not sit back and watch as political control is being exerted over the judiciary, prosecution, civil service and police and election management body.

24. This how a dictatorship is born and we have to respond to what is shaping up with a sense of urgency and alarm.

25. The people who have grabbed power today do not share the values that have taken this country forward like democracy, rule of law, good governance and equity.

26. They will try taking the country to its ugly past, in fact, they have started.

27. Which is why, going forward, we putting together a partnership that enjoins the opposition, civil society, private sector, the press, the academia, faith-based organizations and labour movements to stop the State capture that is underway.

28. It is these pillars of our society that will clean up the IEBC and the Judiciary and come up with proposals on how we will redesign our constitution.

29. We are at a cross roads as a country. Azimio has to stay united and rally the other pillars and stop this regime from destroying the country.

30. Thank you.

Raila Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition was a presidential candidate in the August 9, 2022 presidential race

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