Lawyers caucus demand Baraza resignation

January 7, 2012 12:38 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7- Calls for the resignation of Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza continue mounting with a group of young lawyers now saying that they will boycott her Court sessions if she does not vacate office, pending investigations.

The group dubbed Young Lawyers Caucus argued that her continued stay in office risked hindering fair investigations, which are currently being conducted by the police, maintaining that they would not attend her sessions at the Supreme Court.

Group Secretary Irungu Kang’ata told journalists on Saturday that Baraza should resign in spirit of the new Constitution and in line with the universally accepted tradition for highly placed persons facing similar accusations.

Although the group noted that the incident had also become the subject of a Judicial Service Commission inquiry, they maintained that it was necessary for Baraza to step aside as had been done by former Higher Education Minister William Ruto and others in similar circumstances.

“Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. The saga was between Baraza, a top ranking government official who is still very influential, and a lowly guard so she must resign for the investigations to gain the requisite public legitimacy,” he argued.

The group further criticised civil societies in the country, for their silence surrounding the saga, accusing them of applying double standards.

Kang’ata in particular singled out the Law Society of Kenya saying it ought to have voiced its concerns on the issue, in line with the confines of the Constitution. He said that it was wrong for the non governmental organisations to remain mum on the alleged incident which amounted to ‘gross misconduct.’

“Civil societies have kept quiet, which is very wrong in view of the fact that the guard is a very poor lady who needs support and assurance that her human rights are as important as those of an influential person,” he argued.

The group also lauded Chief Justice Willy Mutunga for initiating an internal probe into the issue saying it sent the right message to Kenyans. Police have also called on Kenyans who might have witnessed the incident to come forward and help with the probe.

On January 6, a Kenyan researcher went to Court seeking to have the Deputy Chief Justice removed from office. Peter Gichira said the accusations leveled against Baraza undermined the spirit of the Constitution and that it was necessary for her to vacate office until the matter was resolved.

In an interview with Capital News, Gichira noted that human rights applied to all persons regardless of their social status in society and that Baraza’s continued stay in office undermined the seriousness of the accusations.

“As a private citizen, I have thus played my role through this petition, but also acknowledge that this is the real litmus test for the Judiciary,” said Gichira.

The Deputy Chief Justice is said to have threatened a security guard, who wanted to frisk her at the Village Market, with a gun on New Year’s Eve. Baraza has also issued a statement on the incident terming it unfortunate and denies withdrawing a gun..


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