, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 4 – The High Court has declined to suspend the tribunal formed to investigate Justice Philip Tunoi after two activists filed a case contesting the appointment of Sharad Rao to chair it.
Justice Joseph Onguto says even though the petitioners’ application raises weighty constitutional issues, it will not be appropriate to suspend the tribunal before hearing from the Attorney General’s office.
The judge has however, certified the matter as urgent and ordered respondents and the AG be served.
The application was filed by activists Okiya Omtatah and Nyakina Giseb who argue that Rao is not qualified to chair the tribunal as he is limited by his age.
The judge observed that the applicants have established that they have a good case, which will be determined at the inter parties hearing on March 11.
Omtatah argued that Rao is unfair to chair the tribunal having performed functions that have made him access information about judicial officers.
According to the activists, Rao will not be an impartial arbiter having chaired the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board which made him have access to privileged information about judges and magistrates.
“The judge will not get a fair because the chairman of the tribunal has prior information about him,” he argued.
Omtatah argued that if the tribunal is suspended, the respondents will suffer no prejudice as they have established an arguable case.