February 17, 2020

Petition seeking removal CJ Maraga is misplaced, Speaker Muturi tells lawyer

“The inclusion of the CJ as a subject of the petition, therefore, is, in itself, misplaced and fatal to the petition. The bid by the petitioner, by purporting to move the National Assembly to consider removal of the chairperson of the JSC by using Article 251 of the Constitution, is a long shot, pedestrian and engaging in a fishing expedition.”

This was the response from National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi after a city lawyer filed a petition on Monday seeking the removal of Chief Justice David Maraga and six other Judiciary officers from office.

Describing it as “a long shot, pedestrian and a fishing expedition,” Speaker Muturi said the petition by lawyer Adrian Kamotho Njenga could not be considered because it was asking Members of Parliament (MPs) to initiate the removal of Justice Maraga, something they legally cannot do.

Citing the constitutional provision making the CJ the chairman of the JSC, Mr Muturi said someone seeking the removal of the chairman of the JSC must first seek his removal as the CJ.

“As a result, the House will not be in a position to address itself to the rest of the contents of the petition in light of that material irregularity alone. It, therefore, follows that this petition falls on its own sword.”

Lawyer Njenga wrote to Parliament accusing Justice Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and five other members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and incompetence.

He alleged that Maraga, DCJ Mwilu, Justice Mohamed Warsame, Justice Aggrey Muchelule, Prof Tom Ojienda, Ms Emily Ominde and Mercy Deche were unfit to hold office.

“The aforementioned JSC Commissioners have failed to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the transparent administration of Justice contrary to Article 172 (1) of the Constitution,” said Njenga.

In the petition that raised eyebrows across board, the lawyer cited a petition that had been filed by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu against CJ Maraga, in which the legislator claimed that the Chief Justice staged a coup during the Supreme Court ruling on the August 8th presidential poll, and that he had undue influence against the four judges who annulled Uhuru’s victory.

On DCJ Mwilu, the petitioner alleged that a petition that was filed by Derick Ngumu on her alleged gross misconduct – including engaging in communication with Siaya Senator James Orengo and Moses Wetangula – during the supreme court case was brushed aside by the JSC.

He further said JSC has continuously shielded, protected and exonerated some judges who have been accused of gross misconduct during their course of work.

The petition came amid fears of interference of the Judiciary by the Jubilee regime.

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