ULTERIOR MOTIVE?

Omtatah in smear campaign to hound me out of office — Mwilu

Acting CJ seeks to have activist declared an irritating litigant and stopped from instituting any action against her.

In Summary

• Mwilu claims Omtatah seeks to create chaos and anarchy within the office of the Chief Justice and the Judiciary in general.

• Omtatah, in response, says his current petition seeks to have her stopped from acting as Chief Justice for failing to comply with Article 74 of the Constitution.  

Acting CJ Philomena Mwilu at the Supreme Court on January 11, 2021.
Acting CJ Philomena Mwilu at the Supreme Court on January 11, 2021.
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

Acting CJ Philomena Mwilu has accused activist Okiya Omtatah of waging a smear campaign against her by filing multiple cases in different courts to wear her down into resignation. 

Mwilu, in an application filed in court on March 9, has asked the High Court to dismiss a case by Omtatah in which he is challenging her capacity to act as Chief Justice on the grounds that she did not take an oath of office for the position. 

Mwilu has also sought to have Omtatah declared an irritating litigant and be stopped from instituting any actions against her.

"The entire proceedings filed by Omtatah in February this year seek to fatigue, harass and shame me into quitting my office and role as the Deputy Chief Justice,  Acting Chief Justice and Head of the Judicial Service Commission."

Mwilu claims Omtatah seeks to create chaos and anarchy within the office of the Chief Justice and the Judiciary in general.

She says from one end, Omtatah insists that she cannot act as the CJ based on alleged unconstitutionality of the position of acting CJ and from another end he contends that she is acting unlawfully as CJ because of an alleged failure to take the oath of office.

 "The actions by Omtata are intended to make it difficult for me to discharge my mandate as the acting CJ," she says.

But Omtatah, in response, says his current petition seeks to have her stopped from acting as Chief Justice for failing to comply with Article 74 of the Constitution.  

The article provides that a state officer whether appointed to a position in acting an capacity must take and subscribe to an oath of that office.

"It is Mwilu's failure to comply with the said article which has put the entire Judiciary into disrepute," says Omtatah. 

Omtatah contends that the oath Mwilu took as Deputy Chief Justice does not entitle her to act as Chief Justice. 

"When she served under the retired Chief Justice David Mafaga, she was assigned duties by the Chief Justice and she did not have the discretionary powers which she now exercises as an acting Chief Justice,"

Omtatah maintains that the oath taken as Deputy Chief Justice cannot be invoked when one occupies the office of the acting Chief Justice.

The case will be mentioned on June 7.