Kenya: Civil Society Wants CJ ‘To Stay On’ Amid Judiciary Crisis

The National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) has formally petitioned Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to extend his stay at the Judiciary.

According to the NCSC, Mutunga should first sort out the on-going crisis at the Supreme Court before going on his retirement in two weeks time.

The President of the Congress Morris Odhiambo singled out the ongoing cases involving Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi saying the cases are personal and should not be dragged into Supreme Court’s status.

“If the Chief Justice retires now, at the current state of the Judiciary, he will go down history books in that light, like someone who failed to help reinstate the Supreme Court. No one will remember his good works,” Odhiambo said while addressing a press briefing in Nairobi.

In the petition seen by Capital FM News, Odhiambo urges Mutunga to not allow the undermining of the five years of commitment to build a proper foundation for the Supreme Court and affirm the importance of its mandate.

“Your commitment to enable a smooth succession at the court seems to have been hijacked by political interests that may not be motivated by the need to secure the integrity of the court and further strengthen the rule of law as well as broader concerns of constitutionalism,” reads part of the letter.

The petition by NCSC comes a day after the Law Society of Kenya’s efforts to broker an out-of-court settlement between the Judicial Service Commission and the cases of Rawal and Tunoi failed.

“When people start canvassing their personal issues, the Supreme Court gets dragged through the mud.”

In the event that Mutunga does not heed the advice of the National Civil Society Congress, the congress will use its back up plan.

Odhiambo says that the NCSC will look for a way to compel the Chief Justice to continue serving.

“We will also pursue the matter with the Judicial Service Commission hoping that it will pressure the Chief Justice into extending his stay.”

At the same time, the NCSC has said that its anti-corruption campaign, Operation Ondoa Panya, will make a comeback starting at Nyeri County.

According to John Wamagata, the national coordinator of the campaign, MCAs in the county have been taking allowances for foreign trips that they never go to.

Apart from Nyeri County, the NCSC announced that they will also visit neighbouring Murang’a County with the intention of weeding out similar leaders.

NCSC launched the campaign in 2014 with the aim of ridding the county assemblies of alleged rampant corruption.

Margaret Njugunah is a business Journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Writing feature stories that root for development in Africa is one of her major career interests. During her free time, Margaret loves to travel, read and blog.

Source: Capital FM