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Raila Exposes Ruto Plot To Appoint Chebukati As Chief Justice

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Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga has accused President William Ruto of plotting to impose former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati as Chief Justice before the 2027 polls.

Odinga’s allegations stem from a recent State House meeting between the Executive, led by President Ruto, and the Judiciary, led by Chief Justice Martha Koome. This meeting has raised concerns about the possible manipulation of the judicial system.

Odinga contends that the meeting is just one element of President Ruto’s larger plan to create a Judiciary that is favourable to his interests.

“In that agreement, the five High Court Judges and two Court of Appeal Judges will be for Ruto to forward to the JSC,” Odinga said Friday, adding Ruto “floated the names. Immediate former IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and former IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan are to be appointed as Court of Appeal judges, with Chebukati being later elevated as the Chief Justice before the 2027 General Elections.”

According to Odinga, the agreement reached during this meeting includes the appointment of judges friendly to Ruto, specifically five High Court Judges and two Court of Appeal Judges. These judges would be handpicked by Ruto and forwarded to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

According to Odinga, Ruto has reportedly suggested the names of former IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and former IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan as potential Court of Appeal judges.

Furthermore, Chebukati is expected to be elevated to the position of Chief Justice before the 2027 General Elections under this alleged plan.

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Odinga asserts that the Kenya Kwanza government has already influenced the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Koome, and now aims to target the “problematic lower courts” by appointing loyalists.

This strategy, Odinga claims, is part of Ruto’s broader efforts to strengthen his grip on all branches of government, following his alleged capture of Parliament.

Odinga raises concerns about Chief Justice Koome seeking additional funding for the Judiciary from State House, as the Judiciary should be financially independent and funded through the Judiciary Fund established by the Constitution of Kenya.

Odinga claims that Ruto’s maneuvers are designed to weaken the courts’ ability to act as a check against Executive power.

He highlights that Ruto is seeking to pack the courts with judges who are aligned with the Kenya Kwanza government and might prioritize loyalty over impartiality.

He has warned that the capture of the judiciary, following the alleged capture of Parliament, could lead the country down a dangerous path.

“The presidency cannot allocate any money to the Judiciary, Madam Koome knows this, and yet has willingly proceeded to associate herself with and endorse an illegality. Why Koome sought money from State House and not from Parliament, only she can explain, but it spells doom,” he said.

As the Judicial Service Commission prepares to advertise vacancies for judges, Odinga believes that it could be a pivotal moment in determining the future direction of the country.

The selection of judges, if influenced by Ruto, could accelerate the decline of democratic institutions.

Odinga has called on President Ruto and Chief Justice Koome to be transparent about the details and intentions of their meeting, as the fate of Kenya’s judiciary and democratic system hangs in the balance.

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