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Tell CJ Koome that if it smells, it’s fishy

Did the Judiciary collude with the Executive to let the controversial housing levy ram through?

President William Ruto recently said yes! Chief Justice Martha Koome said no! And she called out the media for reporting otherwise.

Should the media just coil its tail, lick its wounds and shut up? Well, no. Here’s why.

On March 19 The Star published a story about President Ruto praising the Judiciary for breathing new life into his housing levy programme.

The courts had halted the government from collecting the housing tax. Parliament passed a revamped housing bill, which the President signed into law on March 19.

The Star heading said, “Ruto: Thank you Judiciary, we’ll now get more money for housing”.

A couple of days later, March 21, media headlined the Chief Justice putting out fires.

The Standard: CJ Koome denies housing levy deal with Executive.

Citizen Digital: CJ Koome dismisses President Ruto claim of Judiciary, Executive housing tax deal.

People Daily: “‘There was no agreement” – CJ Koome dismisses Ruto’s housing levy deal with executive.”

Look, if the Judiciary wants to remain like Caesar’s wife, above reproach, it must behave like Caesar’s wife. CJ Koome’s Judiciary has not behaved so.

Last year, implementation of President Ruto’s pet projects, notably the housing levy and universal healthcare, suffered a series of defeats in the courts.

Until the President started to push back, hard. President Ruto knows how to shout defiance. Remember him saying publicly that no court was going to stand in his way?

At the height of the President’s public onslaught against the Judiciary, the Chief Justice announced in mid-January that she would go to the State House to meet the President in order to iron out the escalating differences between the Executive and the Judiciary.

Don’t do it! voices of caution, led by opposition Leader Raila Odinga told her. She would compromise the Judiciary, they said.

But she did it, anyway. And a gleeful President at the State House would take photos with the entire Judiciary leadership in his house.

Then, the tide started to turn.

Universal healthcare is now being rolled out, albeit with noise, court challenges having fizzled out. The housing levy? The President signed a revamped new law.

On March 21, TV47 Digital reported that the High Court declined to issue conservatory orders to suspend housing levy deductions.

This came right after the President “thanked the Judiciary”. And the Chief Justice is blaming the media for blowing things out of context?

Is it the media’s fault that things between the Judiciary and the Executive are suddenly hunky dory?

Nah, go on, media. Tell the Chief Justice that if it smells, it’s fishy. The onus is on her to clear the smell.

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