Supreme Court judges face sack threat by MP

April 2, 2013 3:19 pm


Nyakach MP Adumma Owuor of ODM vowed to introduce a Bill in Parliament seeking to have all the six Judges sent packing/FILE
Nyakach MP Adumma Owuor of ODM vowed to introduce a Bill in Parliament seeking to have all the six Judges sent packing/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – A newly-elected MP from Nyanza has threatened to push for the sacking of the six Supreme Court judges over their judgment that confirmed Uhuru Kenyatta as the 4th President of Kenya.

Nyakach MP Adumma Owuor of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) vowed to introduce a Bill in Parliament seeking to have all the six Judges sent packing for rejecting two petitions that sought to have the presidential election results nullified.

“The Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga failed to honour the trust Kenyans bestowed in them by delivering a questionable ruling in the historic election petition,” the legislator claimed.

According to the newcomer in Parliament, the judges made a decision “against the wishes of Kenyans.”

He said reaching a unanimous decision that the elections were free, fair and in accordance with the law was a clear indication that the judges had been “compromised.”

Mutunga on Saturday read the decision which he said was the common position of all the six judges of the Supreme Court.

The MP however felt that Judges Jackton Ojwang, Mohamed Ibrahim and Philip Tunoi were competent judges given their service in the courts and hence the decision could not have been unanimous as announced by Mutunga on Saturday evening.

Ugenya MP David Ochieng who also won the election on an ODM ticket claimed that Odinga accepted the court decision because he had promised to do so.

The legislator shared his views that Odinga found the decision unfair but opted to accept it to heed his promise before filing the petition.

Ochieng said the heat of the matter besides ensuring peace by being silent should not be used to hoodwink people into believing that everything was alright after the court decision.

Their remarks come two days after Odinga in an interview with the BBC said he was dissatisfied with the court decision but had to accept it.

Though he did not illustrate what he meant during the interview, the outgoing PM said he will use other avenues to pursue democracy.

Nairobi lawyer Moses Chelanga said the MP was at liberty to introduce such a Bill but it will would require the support of a majority of Kenyans in a referendum.

“A Bill seeking amendment of Article 168 of the Constitution affects the independence of the Judiciary and must be approved by a referendum,” Chelanga explained.

The lawyer further explained that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is empowered to ask the president to remove a judge on basis of incompetence or misconduct.

According to the provision, any person disgruntled by the conduct of a judge, can inform the JSC which can then ask the Head of State to remove the judge.

“The removal of judges of the Superior Court (including the Supreme Court) is clearly provided for under Article 168 of the Constitution which provides that the process may be initiated by the Judicial Service Commission on its own motion or on the petition of any person to the JSC in writing alleging grounds of such removal eg incompetence, bankruptcy, gross misconduct or breach of code of conduct,” he asserted.

According to the Constitution, “The JSC 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. The President shall within 14 days after receiving the petitions suspend the judge from office.”

To remove a judge or the CJ, a tribunal consisting of a chair, ‘three superior court judges from common law jurisdictions, one advocate of fifteen years standing and two other persons with experience in public affairs’ will be formed.

In the case of a CJ, the Speaker of the National Assembly will be the chair of the tribunal.

The judiciary is among the Kenyan institutions recognised for comprehensive reforms that have reclaimed the confidence of Kenyans.

The international community, Kenyan leaders and even the locals have praised Mutunga for his leadership that has once again given Kenyans a chance to trust its Judiciary.


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