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February 22, 2020 - 23:34
Cyprian Is Nyakundi
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Will Maraga Survive?

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MAUREEN KAKAH

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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WALTER MENYA

By WALTER MENYA
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A man who wants Chief Justice David Maraga removed from office over gross misconduct will appear before the Judicial Service Commission next week to present his case.

While giving directions on the petition, JSC secretary Anne Amadi asked Mr Yusuf Ibrahim Dimbil to appear before the commission on Wednesday.

JSC asked Mr Dimbil to present documents for his case and a list of witnesses.

Mr Dimbil, through the law firm Charles Koech & Associates, had in March raised various allegations against Mr Maraga, ranging from tribalism to attending political rallies and lifting a quote from a judgment that was yet to be delivered, among others.

The hearing of the petition comes at a time the Judiciary and the Executive have been at loggerheads over the slashing of the Judiciary budget.

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On November 4, a visibly agitated Mr Maraga came out to speak about “the developing crisis in the Judiciary concerning budget cuts”.

However, he strayed to other things, which he said demonstrated executive contempt for the Judiciary.

“Some of the incidents that we encounter are deliberate attempts to undermine the judiciary. On many occasions, the judiciary has not been given treatment that is commensurate to other organs of government,” he said.

Coincidentally, the invitation to Mr Dimbil comes just two weeks after Mr Maraga alleged there was a plot by the Executive to have him removed from office. He said the plot was being overseen by some unnamed Cabinet secretaries.

The CJ, who is the President of the Supreme Court and chairman of the JSC, is not the only judge of the apex court facing allegations of gross misconduct.

His deputy, Justice Philomena Mwilu, has been fighting graft allegations levelled against her.

A five-judge bench spared her from facing prosecution when it ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions lacked the legal basis to charge her since evidence to be used against her was obtained illegally.

However, DPP Noordin Haji has filed a petition to have her removed from office over allegations of abuse of office. The petition is still pending before the JSC.

Justice Jackton Boma Ojwang was spared by a tribunal set up by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the recommendation of the JSC over allegations of conflict of interest arising from a case relating to Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

The tribunal chaired by Justice Alnashir Visram ruled in favour of Justice Ojwang’ after it found that the evidence presented against him did not meet the threshold to warrant his removal.

Justice Ojwang’ and three other judges of the apex court – Justices Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndungu – were also cleared of allegations they were facing earlier this year.

They had been accused of gross misconduct and bribery while handling the election petition challenging the suitability of Wajir governor to stand for election. However, the petitioner withdrew the matter for the “sake of peace in the clan”.

Considering that other petitions against top court judges have flopped, it will be interesting to see whether this one against the CJ will succeed.

The upheavals at the Judiciary, and Supreme Court in particular, also coincide with the looming succession. Justice Ojwang’ is due to retire in 2020 while Mr Maraga will be retiring in 2021.

Their retirement would create two vacancies in the apex court but there has been attempts to have Ms Mwilu also leave.  

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