Kenya: Campaign Mooted to Kick Out Chief Justice
A campaign to intimidate the judiciary and eventually bring down Chief Justice Willy Mutunga was gathering pace yesterday. The Star has established that the the National Conservative Forum intends to launch a massive attack on the judiciary and the CJ to wear out Mutunga's credibility and that of the judiciary.
According to multiple sources, the forum which is associated with politicians allied to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, is composed of professionals, some of whom were in the 'No' side during the 2010 referendum on the constitution.
Yesterday, the forum held a seminar at Panafric hotel in Nairobi, where key speakers launched scathing attacks on the judiciary for advancing a foreign agenda. The theme of the workshop was 'Has judicial activism and civil society replaced the sovereign will of the people and become the alternative government?' Sources said the forum was a launchpad for politicians allied to Uhuru and Ruto to make concerted calls for the CJ to resign or call on President Kibaki to set up a tribunal to investigate his conduct. The sources revealed that the workshop was a precursor to a nationwide political campaign to intimidate the judiciary.
Yesterday, the forum's founder Jeniffer Shamalla and one of the speakers Charles Kanjama refuted claims that politicians close to the ICC suspects were the sponsors of the workshop. The workshop dwelt on the US's interests in Kenya's elections, especially after the recent visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "That is absolutely not true. It is simply an attempt to intimidate us," Shamalla said. "Ask whoever said that. As far as I am concerned they are rumourmongers," she added.
Among the speakers at the workshop were lawyers Kibe Muigai and Dr John Khaminwa. The speakers said the judiciary delivers rulings that were not based on law but on political correctness. Kanjama, who was in the 'No' camp in 2010 said he was not aware of such a scheme. "There may be such a plot but I am not aware of it," he said.
During yesterday's forum, Muigai accused the judiciary for being excessively activist. He cited three cases in which the judiciary allegedly played to the gallery and political whims in its rulings. These are the High Court ruling that found the appointment of county commissioners unconstitutional, the ruling on the delimitation of constituency boundaries and the another that lifted the ban on the Mombasa Republican Council. "I have no problem with judicial activism but it should serve the best causes. If you engage in activism, you must get the law right," said Muigai. He asserted that in lifting the ban on MRC, the judiciary had legitimised treason.
He berated Justice Philip Waki whom he accused for committing acts of treason when he handed the envelope with names of the PEV suspects to chairman of the Panel of Eminent African Personalities Kofi Annan. "The reason why we have the ICC cases in Kenya is because Waki, on the steps of Harambee House, handed the envelope with the names of suspects to Kofi Annan. If I was President Kibaki, I would have ordered the GSU to immediately arrest Waki for committing treason," Muigai stated.
Yesterday, the Star learnt that the group is also said to have identified human rights defenders who are alleged to be cooperating with the ICC for intimidation. "The CJ has been consistent in the application of the spirit and letter of the constitution which has caused a lot of panic among this group, considering the kind of rulings that are coming from the courts and the only way they have devised is to attack the CJ.
They are getting massive support from those who were against the new constitution and those who have plundered this country's resources," one human rights activist said yesterday. Last week, Uhuru's lawyer Evans Monari sought the direction of the court on why Mutunga was commenting on the matter before the court.
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