Petition to remove CJ Maraga rejected


Petition to remove CJ Maraga rejected
Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court of Kenya while admitting lawyers to the bar

In Summary

  • National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has dismissed a petition filed by a city lawyer seeking the removal of Chief Justice David Maraga and six other Judiciary officers from office.
  • Speaker Muturi rejected the petition on Tuesday, February 26 terming it as "misplaced, a long shot, pedestrian and a fishing expedition."
  • Lawyer Adrian Kamotho Njenga wrote to Parliament on Monday, February 25 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.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has dismissed a petition filed by a city lawyer seeking the removal of Chief Justice David Maraga and six other Judiciary officers from office.

Mr. Muturi rejected the petition on Tuesday terming it as “misplaced, a long shot, pedestrian and a fishing expedition.”

The Speaker noted that the petion by Lawyer Adrian Kamotho Njenga could not be considered by MPs since legally, Parliament cannot inititate the removal of the Chief Justice who is the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Mr. Muturi asserted that anyone seeking the removal of the chairperson of the JSC must first seek his/her removal as the Chief Justice.

“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,” said the Speaker.

“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.”

Mr. Njenga wrote to Parliament on Monday, February 25 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 claimed that Justice 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 Kamotho.

Njenga said the seven had “jointly and severally” committed acts of gross misconduct in the execution of their duties as JSC commissioners.

In the petition, the little-known lawyer cited a petition that had been filed by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu against CJ Maraga, in which the lawmaker 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 Kenyatta’s victory.

On DCJ Philomena 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 claimed that the JSC has continuously shielded, protected and exonerated some judges who have been accused of gross misconduct during their course of work.

Mr. Njenga further accused the JSC team of “victimization, bullying and arm twisting of judges”. The petitioner citing appellate court judges Erustus Githinji, Martha Koome and Fatuma Sichale as victims of the alleged JSC witch hunt.

According to the lawyer, “the seven JSC members have adopted a subjective, personalised and vindictive style of handling complaints against judges.’’

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Michael Sialai, received and handed the petition to Speaker Justin Muturi to scrutinise its content for further action.

The petition comes amid fears of interference of the Judiciary by the Executive.

If Parliament had recommended the formation of a tribunal to investigate the claims, the named members would have been forced to step aside as the probe kicks off.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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