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Why Ruto is furious with the courts

President William Ruto’s government has encountered a series of legal challenges that threaten to disrupt some of his key policy initiatives.

As a result, the Head of State has had to come out and defend his plans while attacking the judiciary in the same breath.

The President maintains the judiciary is corrupt and thus some of the judgements pronounced within the corridors of justice are influenced.

Below are some of the setbacks the Ruto regime has faced in court:

The Housing Levy

On January 26, 2024, the Court of Appeal declined to extend an order allowing the government to continue collecting the housing levy from salaried workers.

This followed an earlier ruling by the High Court declaring the Housing Levy as unconstitutional.

The government has proposed that each salaried worker is deducted 1.5% of his gross salary.

That deduction is matched by a similar amount by the employer. The proceeds from this deduction are channeled towards building affordable houses for Kenyans.

Despite the ruling, President Ruto maintains his pet project to build affordable houses for Kenyans from the Housing Levy kitty is unstoppable.

The Social Health Security Fund (SHIF)

The Ruto administration also suffered a setback after the Social Health Security Fund (SHIF) was suspended in November 2023 after a response to a petition by Joseph Enock Aura.

This forced Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha to appeal the decision.

Following the appeal, the Court of Appeal overturned an order halting the implementation of the Social Health Security Fund.

The verdict implies the government now has a go-ahead to deduct up to 2.75% from Kenyans’ salaries with the proceeds channeled towards funding the new social healthcare funding.

The Finance Bill

In June 2023, the High Court stopped the implementation of the Finance Bill 2023 following a lawsuit sponsored by Okiyah Omtatah.

Lady Justice M Thande directed the implementation of the law to be put on hold.

Omtatah had challenged the legality of the Bill, saying that it contravened the law since it was being led by the President.

However, in July, the Court of Appeal overturned the order giving a go-ahead to the implementation of the 2023 Finance Act.

This was after Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof Njuguna Ndung’u argued that the government was losing half a billion shillings a day as a result of the freeze.

Police deployment to Haiti

In January 26, 2024, the government suffered a blow after the High Court halted a UN-backed plan to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti to fight gangs and restore peace.

In the ruling, Justice Enock Chacha Mwita said the constitution only allows members of the Kenya Defence Forces (Kenya Army, Kenya Airforce, and Kenya Navy) to be deployed to keep the peace outside Kenya.

Justice Mwita said Article 240 of the Constitution allows the National Security Council (NSC) to deploy defence forces when requested by the United Nations Security Council.

Privatization of KICC

In December last year, the government suffered a setback after the High Court suspended the government’s move to privatise the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), a landmark building in Nairobi, and 10 other state corporations following a case filed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party.

Justice Chacha Mwita issued the order after ODM through Advocate Jackson Awele said the public was not allowed to give its views regarding the Privatization Act which made it easier to sell the state enterprises to private companies.

“A conservatory order is hereby issued suspending the implementation of section 21 (1) of the Privatization Act 2023 or any decisions made under that section, until 6th February 2024,” reads the order granted by the Judge.

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