The Law Society of Kenya, an organization of lawyers, has called for a mobilization day next week. Since Tuesday, a showdown has unfolded between William Ruto and the Kenyan judiciary, with the president accusing it of corruption and hindering his reform agenda. These allegations have sparked outrage within the Kenyan legal community.
The saga began on January 2 during the funeral of a prominent figure. William Ruto began his speech and suddenly launched into a scathing attack on Kenyan judges. His words were sharp, addressing “corruption, bribery,” a justice system serving the highest bidder, and judgments he vowed to defy. The following day, Judge Martha Koome, head of the Judicial Service Commission of Kenya, issued a memo expressing her indignation.
“This attitude from the head of state is deplorable,” commented Evans Ogada, a lawyer and member of the Law Society of Kenya. “It’s a very bad sign for our democracy.” In recent months, several major projects proposed by William Ruto have been halted by court decisions, including his universal health insurance law and tax reform, deemed unconstitutional by the High Court of Nairobi.
Backed into a Corner
The Kenyan president finds himself backed into a corner. The country urgently needs funds as it must repay a 2 billion Eurobond due in June 2024. A default on payment would send a highly negative signal that William Ruto aims to avoid.