The Judiciary, as the third arm of the government, played a pivotal role in shaping key decisions in 2023, particularly concerning the constitutionality of government policies and other pressing issues.
The courts, including the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, were key in delivering judgments that significantly impacted the implementation of various government policies.
Kenyans.co.ke takes a look at some of these rulings and what they meant for the country.
LGBTQ Supreme Court Ruling
Amid fierce debate on LGBTQ rights, the issue found its way into the courtroom just as conversation on the sensitive topic was heating up.
On September 12, 2023, the Supreme Court dismissed MP Peter Kaluma’s case challenging the LGBTQ+ community’s right to freedom of expression.
LGBTQ Community protest in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday, January 13, 2022.
While delivering its ruling, the court brought an end to a sensitive debate that had seen religious organisations and politicians warn the State and courts against allowing same-sex marriages and the LGBTQ+ culture to creep in.
Ruling on CAS Positions
The re-introduction of the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) position, a carryover from the Uhuru administration has faced opposition, with Kenyans describing it as unnecessary and a burden to citizens who are already grappling with a high cost of living.
President William Ruto has been under pressure to reward some politicians who supported him in the 2022 poll, particularly those who lost in elective contests.
With cabinet secretary and parastatal positions limited, President Ruto was banking on the CAS position to reward some of his allies, but the plan encountered legal headwinds.
President William Ruto signing official documents of Oath of Office as President of Kenya at Kasarani Stadium on September 13, 2022
On July 3, the High Court of Kenya ruled on a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya and the Katiba Institute regarding the constitutionality of the position.
Judges Kanyi Kimondo, Hedwig Ong’undi, and Aleem Visram declared the CAS appointments unconstitutional, and further pointed out that the positions created by President William Ruto were excessive.
Finance Bill Ruling
President William Ruto’s push for his agenda, including Affordable Housing pushed the government into bulldozing the Finance Act, of 2023, as a means to raise funds to finance the ambitious projects.
The bill proposed a minefield of taxes prompting Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah to file a petition which culminated in the High Court suspending sections of the Finance Act.
High Court Judges David Majanja, Christine Meoli, and Lawrence Mugambi, while delivering their ruling, suspended sections of the Finance Act including the Housing Levy which it declared unconstitutional.
Police Deployment to Haiti
In response to calls from Haiti for international intervention, Kenya, under President William Ruto, offered to deploy 1000 police officers to help restore peace to the gang-ravaged nation.
The plan gained momentum after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved the mission.
A collage of Kenyan Police on the streets (left) and Haitian police during a protest (right)
DANIEL OGENDO/RICHARD PIERRIN
However, the High Court issued conservatory orders suspending the deployment pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
Aukot had moved to court to block the deployment on the grounds that Kenyan Police are only allowed to operate within Kenyan borders and that the plan was not backed by any law or treaty.