NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – From the first day he set foot in the corridors of the Supreme Court building as Chief Justice, Dr Willy Mutunga recalls moments he describes as electrifying but shocking.
Perceptions have been that the immediate former CJ “had it rough” because of the controversies that emerged during his tenure right from the Supreme Court ruling on the 2013 General Election, to the end of his term during the ruling that upheld the Appeal Court decision that judges should retire at 70.
On the contrary, Dr Mutunga in an interview with Capital FM News said he enjoyed every single moment he worked and in fact his early experiences were ‘laughable’ till the end of his term which he described as ‘dramatic’.
“This will shock you. My best moments in the Judiciary were every day. Because every day, I discovered something new at the Judiciary and I went home laughing although it was serious,” he explained. “Every moment right to the end when even my own court – the Supreme Court became dramatic that was also a laughable moment.”
Coming from the civil society where human rights and equality are the mantra, Dr Mutunga immediately noticed junior judicial staff was a disempowered lot when he entered the Judiciary.
He met grownups who ducked behind doors and corridors, took to their heels like scared rabbits or coiled themselves against the walls of the Supreme Court whenever they ran into their superiors.
For lack of better words, he said the situation was so harsh that it looked more of a joke than reality that an institution entrusted to deliver justice was the first one to abuse it.
“The first time I got there, people were running away from me in the corridors. I would just wonder what kind of institution is this where people don’t share the corridors. When you meet someone on the corridor and if they can’t run, they freeze.”
Though several years have lapsed, Dr Mutunga is yet to recover from another episode where he found a female judge with five flasks of tea in her office.