By Calvin Osiemo
The Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed a case filed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) where the two unions had accused the President of interfering with the court process. The unions filed the application asking that the three judges handling the case step down claiming they are subject to manipulation from the Executive arm of the government. The application comes even after the three judge bench was raised to five judges to avoid bias and outside influence but that has not soothed the teachers concerns.
KNUT, through lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, claims they have reliably learnt that the President of the Court of Appeal had handpicked the bench hearing an appeal the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has filed to get the commission a favorable ruling.
“The reliable information we have is that the President of the Court of Appeal Kihara Kariuki has been micro-managing the bench he himself handpicked. He had sought to know why the case was adjourned last week when we made the request, saying President Kenyatta who was following the proceedings on TV from wherever he was, was furious with the adjournment,” lawyer Abdullahi claimed.
However, Judges Erastus Githinji, Philomena Mwilu, Festus Azangalala, Prof. James Odek Otieno and Martha Koome dismissed claims on the basis of lack of evidence from the unions indicating that the President is interfering with the proceedings of the court.
“There is no evidence backing the suspicion and the allegations are without any basis at all. The whole purpose of the application is to arrest the hearing of the appeals and this court finds that the claims amount to hearsay and unsubstantiated hence cannot be allowed,” ruled the judges.
Following the ruling, KNUT lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi has since withdrawn himself from representing the union.