Government officials accompanying President William Ruto to Elgeyo Marakwet County expressed their dissatisfaction with the Judiciary following the High Court’s orders on Friday to suspend the implementation of the new Finance Act 2023.
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi took the lead in criticizing the Judiciary, accusing the Chief Justice Martha Koome-led branch of the government of neglecting the principle of public interest.
“While we recognize the Judiciary’s need for independence, it is equally important for them to consider the public interest,” stated Mudavadi. “Public interest should always be taken into account when the courts make decisions on critical matters. The issue at hand is procedural and could have been addressed through alternative means without suspending the entire Act.”
Mudavadi emphasized that Kenya is in a race against time to revive its economy and cannot afford to reverse the progress made. He argued that the matter before the court was primarily a procedural one, rather than a substantive legal issue. Mudavadi questioned how a procedural matter could supersede the public interest and expressed his concern about the judiciary taking it for granted.
Mudavadi’s stance echoed that of Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, who disagreed with the courts’ decision on the Finance Act. Cheruiyot pointed out that the case presented by Senator Okiya Omtatah did not reflect the unanimous position of the Senate. He distanced the Senate from Omtatah’s presentation, asserting that there was a consensus between the National Assembly and the Senate in passing the Finance Bill, which President William Ruto had signed into law.
“As the Senate Majority Leader, I have consulted with the Speaker of the Senate, Amason Kingi. The Speaker has confirmed the procedural steps taken between him and the National Assembly Speaker regarding the Finance Act issue. There was 100% consensus,” stated Cheruiyot. “Senator Okiya Omtatah, in his personal capacity, does not represent the Senate. Who is he to demand consultation on this matter?”
These statements were made during a thanksgiving ceremony for National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo in Kapteren, Keiyo North, where President Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, and other leaders were in attendance.
Mudavadi called upon the courts to consider the nation’s well-being and the interests of its people as they carry out their duties.
“President William Ruto has set a clear agenda for this country. Our primary focus is to revive the economy, and we cannot afford to lose sight of that goal. Kenyans are suffering, and we cannot postpone addressing these issues any longer. Our predecessors kept pushing problems aside, but we aim to resolve them once and for all,” expressed Mudavadi, a former Finance minister.
“I hope the Judiciary, with its wisdom, will take corrective action. Kenya is progressing, and time is of the essence. The economic recovery process is a race against time, and the President has set the pace. We cannot afford any further delays.”