Frosty ties hit Kenya's three arms of government

2017-09-13 14:15:56 GMT2017-09-13 22:15:56(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Bedah Mengo

NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The relationship between Kenya's three arms of government has hit a new low as a political stalemate occasioned by the annulment of the Aug. 8 president elections by the Supreme Court rages.

The arms, namely Parliament, Executive and Judiciary, are seemingly at a cross-purpose, with their heads and members reading from different scripts.

The rift can be traced to the ruling by the Supreme Court on Sept. 1, which cancelled President Uhuru Kenyatta's win in the Aug. 8 polls.

Immediately after the ruling, Kenyatta branded the four judges of the apex court who annulled his win "crooks" and castigated the Judiciary headed by Chief Justice David Maraga at several public forums.

"I think those robes they wear make them think that they are cleverer than the rest of Kenyans," Kenyatta said of the Supreme Court judges, specifically targeting the Chief Justice.

"We shall go back to voters and when we win, we shall revisit this thing. Who even elected you? We have a problem and we must fix it," he added.

Kenyatta was widely criticized for the attack but he has since not retracted his words, with analysts noting perhaps he is waiting for the Oct. 17 elections, which he has vowed to win to get his revenge.

The frosty relations between the Executive and the Judiciary sank to a fresh low on Tuesday when for the first time in the history of the East African nation, the Judiciary did not participate in the opening of the 12th Parliament.

The Constitution stipulates that the President must address a newly elected Parliament in 30 days after the swearing-in of MPs.

As a tradition, therefore, the six Supreme Court judges were to attend the function which involves the president outlining his legislative agenda.

However, while the Speaker of the National Assembly maintained Tuesday that the judges had been invited, officials at the Supreme Court said they did not get any invite.

"I am informed they were invited. We always invite them at least the Chief Justice and other judges for such functions. I do not know why they did not attend," said Speaker Justin Muturi.

Also missing from the parliamentary session on Tuesday were opposition lawmakers elected under the National Super Alliance (NASA).

The legislators staged a "no-show" as Kenyatta addressed the joint sitting of the bicameral House. They noted that he was not duly elected and thus should not perform the function.

NASA presidential candidate and Kenyatta's rival Raila Odinga on Tuesday termed the opening of Parliament as illegal.

"As members of the Opposition, we find it politically unsound to sit in Parliament and listen to someone who our party leader is competing with in Oct. 17 polls," said NASA lawmaker Opiyo Wandayi, as he echoed Odinga.

Opinion among observers is divided on the ongoing turf wars between the three arms of government, with analysts noting leaders should set aside their differences to serve the country.

On one hand, Kenyatta's supporters have labelled both the Judiciary heads and the Opposition NASA as co-conspirators.

"Judiciary and NASA boycott parliament. They must be co-conspirators," political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi, who supports Kenyatta, said on Wednesday.

"So the Judiciary and the Supreme Court of Kenya joined NASA in boycotting the official opening of Parliament? Independence of the Judiciary indeed," said Jubilee Senator Kichumba Murkomen as he castigated the two.

Opposition supporters, on the other hand, noted that Kenyatta's attacks against the judges had scared them from attending the function.

"In the Commonwealth, Chief Justice and judges grace President's first address of Parliament. Not today. Judiciary will not endorse a fraud on Kenyans. If they were desperate, Jubilee should have invited only the Supreme Court judges who ruled in their favour," said lawyer Nelson Havi, an opposition supporter.

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturers in Nairobi, noted that the frosty relations between three arms of government are not good for the country.

"The current stalemate portends bad times ahead as the three key institutions cannot serve Kenyans best if their leaders and members do not agree. The leaders need to put their differences aside and work together as the law stipulates," he said, noting the cold war may go on even after Oct. 17 polls as the Chief Justice, who is to swear the president-elect enjoys security of tenure.

China-ASEAN Expo joined by exhibitors from countries along Belt and Road

Fire drill held in S China's Guangxi

Aerial view of villages in N China's Shanxi

Apple releases new products and services in California

China, Pakistan air forces hold joint training exercises

Pic story: Chinese grape and wine expert

Farmers busy with farm work around Bailu across China

Rural children take free lunch in SW China's Guizhou