A lobby group has filed a lawsuit in court, contesting President William Ruto’s recent statements regarding sugar cartels.
Operation Linda Jamii, through its director, Fred Ogola claims that Ruto is in violation of the Constitutional principle of the rule of law.
In court documents, Ogola stated that in August 2023, during a visit to Kenya’s sugar belt in the Western region, the President accused specific cartels and figures within the sugar industry of undermining the government’s efforts to revitalize and reform the struggling sugar sector.
“The President, whose utterances were aimed at the two Rai brothers, told them to either leave Kenya, withdraw cases they have filed in court over the control and management of Mumias Sugar Company, go to jail, or go to Heaven,” court documents read.
The group claims that Ruto’s comments not only constitute death threats but also erode the foundations of the rule of law, separation of powers, doctrines, and the constitutional system of checks and balances.
Ogola further asserts that unless the President retracts his remarks and issues an official, unconditional apology on behalf of the Presidency, it could foster a perception that undermines the independence of the judiciary, which serves as the guardian of justice and due process in Kenya.
He also argued that this situation would result in the disregard of the rule of law, with no avenue for remedy.
Furthermore, Ogola pointed out that, without prejudice to the aforementioned concerns, Jaswant Rai Singh has withdrawn all three lawsuits filed by his company, West Sugar Company Limited, against Mumias Sugar Company Limited following the President’s statements in Western Kenya.
“In the letter of withdrawal, Rai has stated that he has withdrawn the cases because he feels he’s been threatened with death, meaning that he has felt violated. That means that the President’s utterances cannot be taken as mere words. In law, it is not just what you do and say, but what others feel about what your actions and utterances are,” Operation Linda Jamii adds.
The advocacy group is seeking a court declaration asserting that the President’s statements undermine judicial authority, in violation of Articles 48, 50(1), and 159 of the Constitution
“A writ of mandamus be and is hereby issued directing and compelling the Respondent(Attorney General) to advise the President of the Republic of Kenya and/or the Presidency to proffer an unconditional public apology to the people of Kenya for the unfortunate utterances made during the tour of Kenya’s sugar belt,” Ogola requests.
The Linda Jamii director further requests that in the event of the President failing to issue a public, unconditional apology to the Kenyan public, the Honourable Court consider directing Parliament to initiate impeachment proceedings against him for his alleged violation of the Constitution