He argued that the Judiciary “had come of age and was the most independent in Africa” but Justice Odunga’s actions had threatened the new-found independence.
The statements attracted immediate fury from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) which termed the utterances as “an attack on the independence of the Judiciary, integrity of the judge and an abuse of parliamentary privilege.”
In his harshest attack yet on the Judiciary, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale on Thursday accused High Court Judge George Odunga of playing tribal politics and being partisan.
In an outburst shortly after Jubilee MPs bulldozed their way and used their numerical strength to pass contentious amendments to the electoral law in the National Assembly, Mr Duale suggested that Justice Odunga was taking the Judiciary back to the old days.
“And I want to tell one Judge Odunga, when we open on January 24, I will introduce a motion to discuss you. We will expose you. You cannot be a member of the Bench and play tribal politics,” Mr Duale said.
The statement by Mr Duale was made as the judge was hearing or preparing to rule on an application before him in the morning. The application was a legal challenge by the Opposition to the proposed amendments that were before Parliament.
In his ruling, Judge Odunga said that nothing could stop the court from reversing any decisions that will be made by Parliament.
Reacting to Mr Duale’s sentiment, LSK President Isaac Okero said: “It is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and on the integrity of the honourable judge and an abuse of parliamentary privilege. It is conduct completely untenable in any civilised democracy.”
He said Justice Odunga holds an important constitutional office as a judge of the superior court and a member of the Judiciary whose independence is protected by Article 160(1) of the Constitution.