Petitioner seeks to have CJ Maraga removed from office for misbehaviour


Chief Justice David Maraga speaking during the launch of a Ksh367 million court building construction ...
Chief Justice David Maraga speaking during the launch of a Ksh367 million court building construction in Homabay town on Thursday, June 22, 2017. PHOTO BY KASSIM ADINASI

In Summary

  • A petition drafted by Timothy Odhiambo seeks to have Chief Justice bundled out of office, citing a breach of the Judicial code of conduct.
  • The petitioner noted that while Chief Justice is entitled to his right of opinion, his public attacks on the President had gone against the Judicial Code of Conduct and Ethics.

The Judicial Service Commission has been petitioned to remove Chief Justice David Maraga on grounds of gross misconduct and misbehavior

The  petition drafted by Timothy Odhiambo seeks to have Chief Justice bundled out of office, citing a breach of the Judicial code of conduct.

The petitioner noted that while Chief Justice is entitled to his right of opinion, his public attacks on the President had gone against the Judicial Code of Conduct and Ethics.

The Judicial code of conduct requires that:

“A judge shall, as far as is reasonable, conduct himself or herself as to minimize the occasion on which it will be necessary for the judge to be disqualified from hearing and deciding cases,”

Further, the code of conduct requires that:

“A judge shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial conduct in order to enhance public confidence in the judiciary, which is fundamental to the maintenance on judicial independence,”

The Chief Justice has been accused of sub judice- commenting on matters that are currently before court- and in so doing, appeared to pick sides.

According to the Kenyan constitution,  a Chief Justice may be removed from office on grounds of: inability to perform the functions of office arising from mental or physical incapacity, a breach of a code of conduct prescribed for judges of the superior courts by an Act of Parliament; bankruptcy; incompetence; or gross misconduct or misbehavior.

The removal of a judge may be initiated only by the Judicial Service Commission acting on its own motion, or on the petition of any person to the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) A petition by a person to the Judicial Service Commission under clause (2) shall be in writing, setting out the alleged facts constituting the grounds for the judges removal.

(4) The Judicial Service Commission shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that the petition discloses a ground for removal under clause (1), send the petition to the President.

(5) The President shall, within fourteen days after receiving the petition, suspend the judge from office and, acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission

The President will then appoint a tribunal to look into the matter and make binding recommendations.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki issued a rebuttal after CJ Maraga in a strongly-worded statement accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of frustrating the efforts of the judiciary to determine cases.

“It is important to clearly and categorically state that this shortage of judges and the near paralysis of court operations has been caused by the President. The President has persisted in his refusal despite orders in two cases requiring him to swear in those judges within 14 days,” said the Chief Justice.

AG Kariuki during a press conference accused the Chief Justice of among other things; sub judice while noting that the public attacks on the president appeared to have taken a personal slant.

“These public attacks which have not taken a decidedly personal slant are not only a breach of established norms of Government but are also the more puzzling given the direct lines of communication that exists between the Chief Justice and the President,” the statement read

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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