Civil society groups Tuesday called on President William Ruto to retract his threatening statements against those he referred to as “sugar cartels” and issue an apology.
This comes after Ruto, who blamed the so-called cartels for the collapse of the nation’s sugar industry, including the state-run Mumias Sugar Company, over the weekend, vowed to take them on head-on.
He also ordered that all current court cases involving Mumias Sugar Company’s ownership and control be dropped.
“Hawa wakora wote watoke. Hio kampuni ni ya wananchi na tutaipangia upya. Hakuna kesi tutaentertain hapo. Kesi watoe na wao wenyewe watoke,” said Ruto.
“Wakitaka kuniletea kisirani either wahame Kenya ama nitawaweka jela ama wasafiri waende mbinguni.”
Led by Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Eric Theuri, Haki Africa and Amnesty International noted that the President’s remarks have raised questions about his commitment to uphold the constitution and grant every individual the right to equality.
Theuri said the remarks appeared to suspend the rule of law and reintroduce the days of a repressive regime that violated Kenyans’ human rights and freedom.
“It is regrettable that the utterances by the President, seem to suggest that he can disregard constitutionally guaranteed rights, at whim,” he said.
“The declaration by the President therefore, appears to suspend the Constitution and substitute the rule of law, with the rule and wishes of the executive.”
The groups also linked the recent kidnapping of prominent businessman Jaswant Singh Rai, who also had a court case pending against the sugar company.
“While the circumstances of his public abduction remain unknown, such statements lend credence to reports that his abduction must be related to the issues surrounding Mumias Sugar Company,” said Theuri.
They urged Ruto to stop undermining the authority of the Kenyan courts and allow due process to take course.
“The demands we want to make to the President is to not only withdraw and apologize for those very unfortunate remarks but also to allow the due process of law to take its course to its logical conclusion,” he said.
“To interfere in those processes before the court has made its determination is to undermine the rule of law under the authority the court as the arbiter and is against the constitution.”
They also claimed that, in light of the country’s rampant extrajudicial killings, advocates representing parties in the Mumias Sugar Company could be the next target.
They said they will continue to uphold the rule of law and challenge any alleged attacks on LSK.
“We urge members of the Law Society of Kenya and other Human Rights Organizations to remain steadfast in the defense of the Constitution and the Rule of Law, in tribute and respect to those who fought for the liberation we currently enjoy through their blood and lives.”Email your news TIPS to Editor@kahawatungu.com or WhatsApp +254707482874