ACCUSED OF BIAS, MISCONDUCT

Petitioner wants CJ Maraga removed from office

Dimbil says the CJ is unfit to hold office because he has been attending political rallies, homecoming ceremonies for politicians

In Summary

•Says Maraga 'makes reckless political statements without considering their implications on the independence of the Judiciary'

•He also wants the JSC to ensure Maraga recuses himself from chairing the commission as it determines the petition

 

Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court on January 31, 2017
ACCUSED OF BIAS: Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court on January 31, 2017
Image: Jack Owuor

A Kenyan wants Chief Justice David Maraga removed from office over what he says amounts to gross misconduct that brings the Judiciary into disrepute.

Yussuf Dimbil has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission to initiate the process.

He also wants the JSC to ensure Maraga recuses himself from chairing the commission as it determines the petition.

The JSC is questioning judges who are facing complaints from members of the public. On Thursday judges Edward Muriithi, Njoki Ndung'u and Jacktone Ojwang' appeared before the commission.

In his petition, Dimbil says the CJ is unfit to hold office because he has attended political rallies and politicians' homecoming ceremonies. Occasionally, he makes reckless political statements without considering their implications on the independence of the Judiciary, he says. 

By attending political rallies, Maraga violated the public trust bestowed on him, Dimbil says.


"The Chief Justice has been spotted attending political rallies organised by the presidency, especially those in Kisii and Nyamira, bringing into disrepute the venerable office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya," the petition reads. 

He quoted the Judicial Code of Conduct, which says a judge shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by, the Executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to be a reasonable observer to be free.

In his view,  Maraga took sides by attending political rallies.

Dimbil claims the CJ presided over a presidential election petition in 2017 without disclosing that one of the lawyers in the matter was his nephew.

"That in the presidential petition No 1 of 2017, Brian Onderi, who is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and who was on the record together with other advocates for the petitioner, is a nephew of the Chief Justice," the petition reads.


"This is critical in that, despite having full knowledge of this fact, the Chief Justice went ahead to hear and determine the petition whereas the basis of this simple fact, bias, both in fact and appearance, would, to any reasonable person, arise."

On the Wajir governor election petition, Dimbil says the CJ, through actions and inaction, invited and allowed himself and other litigants to be intimidated by senior counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi.

"In light of the foregoing parity of arms became unequal and senior counsel Ahmednassir, with the approval of the Chief Justice, got his way," he says.

Dimbil claims that the dissenting decision by the CJ in the Wajir case was drafted by two lawyers.

"No wonder the difference in language between the hitherto known tone and voice of the Chief Justice in previous decisions and the harsh tone in the decision in the Wajir gubernatorial decision and the deviation between the quote in his earlier decision lifted from the Laikipia judgment and the text of the final decision rendered in the Wajir judgment," Dimbil says.

In his view,  Maraga took sides by attending political rallies and allowed himself to be intimidated by senior counsel Ahmednassir

Petitioner

"The Chief Justice has been spotted attending political rallies organised by the presidency, especially those in Kisii and Nyamira, bringing into disrepute the venerable office of the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya," the petition reads. 

He quoted the Judicial Code of Conduct, which says a judge shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by, the Executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to be a reasonable observer to be free.

In his view,  Maraga took sides by attending political rallies.

Dimbil claims the CJ presided over a presidential election petition in 2017 without disclosing that one of the lawyers in the matter was his nephew.

"That in the presidential petition No 1 of 2017, Brian Onderi, who is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and who was on the record together with other advocates for the petitioner, is a nephew of the Chief Justice," the petition reads.

"This is critical in that, despite having full knowledge of this fact, the Chief Justice went ahead to hear and determine the petition whereas the basis of this simple fact, bias, both in fact and appearance, would, to any reasonable person, arise."

On the Wajir governor election petition, Dimbil says the CJ, through actions and inaction, invited and allowed himself and other litigants to be intimidated by senior counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi.

"In light of the foregoing parity of arms became unequal and senior counsel Ahmednassir, with the approval of the Chief Justice, got his way," he says.

Dimbil claims that the dissenting decision by the CJ in the Wajir case was drafted by two lawyers.

"No wonder the difference in language between the hitherto known tone and voice of the Chief Justice in previous decisions and the harsh tone in the decision in the Wajir gubernatorial decision and the deviation between the quote in his earlier decision lifted from the Laikipia judgment and the text of the final decision rendered in the Wajir judgment," Dimbil says.