Severely punish the CASs disobeying court order

For a country that cherishes justice, law and order, obeying court orders is not optional; it is at the core of the justice delivery system.

This is why it is extremely disappointing to hear that some of the chief administrative secretaries (CAS) appointed by President William Ruto have defied a court order barring them from assuming office until a suit filed against them is heard and determined.

There are reports that some of the 50 CAS have been working as if there was no such order in the first place.

When the matter was raised several months ago, Attorney-General Justin Muturi defended the CASs, stating that none had started work. But some have been active lately, with their public appearances indicating they could be discharging their duties.

That would be a violation of High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’udi’s extension of interim orders barring the officials from assuming office or earning a salary, benefits or any other remuneration until the matter is concluded. It would also be blatant disrespect for President William Ruto, who declared that he will run a government that respects the rule of law.

A major criticism of the last government—in which he served as the Deputy President—was the propensity for disobeying court orders. During the presidential election campaigns, Dr Ruto promised to put an end to the trend by Jubilee administration, a pledge he has reiterated since taking over the highest office in the land eight months ago.

Some of the defiant CASs allegedly include those said to be serving under Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s docket.

While turning down requests by the CASs to lift temporary orders following petitions filed by the Law Society of Kenya and activists, Justice Ong’udi issued a stern warning on March 28. The complainants are challenging the President’s powers to appoint 50 CASs instead of the 23 recommended by the Public Service Commission.

Having the officials clandestinely assume office and discharge their duties would be a display of impunity that should be condemned and severely punished. The Executive must lead by example by ensuring that court orders are obeyed and lawlessness stamped out.