Social media attacks on Supreme Court are sponsored, says Judiciary

Supreme Court judges

Supreme Court judges during the presidential election petition. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Judiciary has raised concern over a recent wave of negative social media commentary targeting the seven-judge Supreme Court bench, while terming the onslaught of online abuse as "sponsored". 

In a terse statement defending the judges Monday, the Judiciary urged the sponsors of the online attacks to "desist", while reiterating that the court had issued a unanimous judgment and had worked as a cohesive unit. 

"The persons sponsoring and executing the attacks on social media to disparage the court are advised to desist forthwith," it said.

The Judiciary has also called on Kenyans to wait on the the final reasoned judgment what will explain why the presidential petition challenging declaration of President-elect William Ruto as winner had failed in court.  

“There is a legal provision of 21 days following the reading of the short version of the judgement which will shed light and provide clarity on the grounds and rationale of the Court,” the statement from the Judiciary said.

The Judiciary also said claims that some judges had resigned from their posts was hogwash, adding there was no reason for any judge to do so since the “court is working in harmony as a cohesive unit”.

“The court has seven judges who are independent and highly respectful of each other as equals. A unanimous judgement is a collective decision made by the court and not by an individual.” 

Criticism of court verdict

The red flag from the Judiciary also comes just hours after Siaya Governor James Orengo went on record to term the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court as unconvincing and meant to serve a political purpose.

While speaking at the burial of the sister of Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo in Mutumbu Village, Gem constituency, he described the decision to uphold the election of Dr Ruto as an embarrassment to those who fought for independence of the Judiciary, before adding it was a “shame and disappointing”.

“We thought that after the former Chief Justice David Maraga had retired, we would have judges standing for the rule of law. The Chief Justice (Martha Koome) has brought shame to the Judiciary,” said Mr Orengo.

“The people fought for the independence of the judiciary and Raila Odinga (Azimio Presidential candidate) was jailed for years fighting for judicial reforms. Instead the seven judges brought shame by watering down all the efforts of the patriotic Kenyans,” he added. 

The Siaya County boss further faulted the judgment, saying: “The judgment that they rendered was not was not a judicial judgment because the literature contained in it was not judicial. It was meant to serve a political purpose that had nothing to do with the law.”