Judiciary denies swearing-in President Ruto's 50 CASs

President Ruto with CASs at State House

President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Minister Musalia Mudavadi take a group photo with the newly sworn-in Chief Administrative Secretaries at State House, Nairobi on March 23, 2023.

Photo credit: PCS

The Judiciary has denied claims it presided over the swearing-in of the 50 chief administrative secretaries (CASs) appointed by President William Ruto, while the matter was pending in court.

President Ruto on Thursday formally appointed the CASs as the fight against the appointments raged in court. The ceremony was run by Head of Public Service Felix Koskei.

In a statement on Saturday, the Judiciary said the claim was by Ms Diana Gichengo, the national coordinator of the Institute for Social Accountability.

However, the statement the body was referring to was issued by 14 civil society organisations, which alleged that the Judiciary had refused to stop the illegal process yet it had time to.

The 14 include Transparency International Kenya, Muslims for Human Rights, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Inuka Ni Sisi Ltd, The Institute for Social Accountability, Constitution and Reform Education Consortium, Siasa Place and Inform Action.

The others are Haki Yetu Organisation, CSO Network, Midrift Human Right Network, Defenders Coalition, Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance and Mazingira Institute. 

The 14 organisations accused the Judiciary of abandoning the people and refusing to preserve the Constitution through conservatory orders, which protect the Constitution while a case is pending in court.

The group claimed the Judiciary "made a mockery of its constitutional role" and was "responsible for aiding and abettng impunity".

In its response, the Judiciary noted that "no official of the Judiciary was sent to State House" to swear-in the CASs.

"The Judiciary has no role in the swearing-in of chief administrative secretaries," the statement added, while also clarifying that the body plays no role in the swearing-in of Cabinet and principal secretaries.

It reaffirmed that it is committed to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution.

Thus far, the High Court has stopped the 50 CASs from assuming office pending determination of a suit filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Katiba Institute. They are also barred from earning any salary, remuneration and any benefit.