Chief Justice Martha Koome condemned the arrest of two High Court Judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Chitembwe on Thursday at their chambers.
In a statement seen by K24 Tv Digital, Koome said DCI did not formally inform her about the arrest of the two Judges as the head of the Judiciary and chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission.
“That no formal report has since been brought to her attention over the arrest, search, interrogation of the two high court judges by the DCI detectives,’ She says.
The Chief Justice has, however, assured all judges and Judicial officers that their work is protected by the Constitution and should therefore continue discharging their duties without fear.
“I assure all judges and Judicial officers that the Independence of the Judiciary and their constitutional duties are protected by the constitution. They should therefore continue discharging their duties with any fear in accordance with their oath of office,” Koome added
However, she says the Muchelule and Chitembwe have notified her that they have recorded statements with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations at the DCI Headquarters Kiambu road on Thursday following a search that was conducted in their chambers in Milimani law courts.
Koome says she will not make further comments on the issue of the two judges since the matter has been filed at the high court and will therefore await the finds of the ongoing investigations into the matter and make full statements at the opportune time.
Her statement comes after Kenya Judges and Magistrate Association through their chair Derrick Kutto have also condemned the arrest of the two judges.
KJMA says that move by the state is a pattern of attacks directed at the individual judges and the same is an affront to the decisional independence of the judges and the rule of law. They should stop forthwith.
“We believe that this intimidation is part of the wider agenda by outside forces to influence the judiciary in its operations,” says Kutto
He added that the search conducted yesterday (Thursday, July 22, 2021) in which the DCI officers involved created a scene at the offices, manhandled the judges by pushing them around while shouting at them to go back to their chambers as they stepped out for lunch was gross, wrong, wicked, immoral and disrespectful to the senior judges. It was an open insult to them.
“The fact that public investigations against the judges are being conducted in secrecy without information on the complaint or complainant, that the search found nothing, and that the judges were then asked to record statements on activities of the day, confirms our position that this is pure harassment with the intention to instil fear in judges,” KJMA says
Kutto further added that ” this pattern by the DCI to intimidate and harass judges is ancient and old school. It is a well-rehearsed script from the archives to police and instils fear in judges and judicial officers as used to happen sometimes back. The ultimate goal is for Judges and Judicial officers working while fearing a prefect on their shoulders.”
KJMA wonders who sanctioned these illegalities with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) having denied being aware of any complaint against the said judges. The events must be put in perspective.
“There have been attacks against the Deputy Chief Justice, selective appointment of judges, the sustained attempts at bullying the judiciary, open threats against individual judges by high ranking officers of government, the attempt to maliciously prosecute a magistrate, and physical attacks against a number of judicial officers and their families,” KJMA says.
Recently, high ranking government officers openly threatened the five judges who heard and determined the BBI petitions on May 13 2021 in the high court of the judges and the rule of law. They should stop forthwith.
This pattern of attacks directed at the individual judges are an affront to the decisional independence