Lobby group challenges two petitions against Justice Mwilu

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 00:00 |
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. Photo/Courtesy

Kituo Cha Sheria yesterday filed an application challenging two petitions filed at Nairobi High Court and Meru High Court against acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

The lobby group has named the Attorney General as the respondent in the suit and Mwilu, Judicial Service Commission, Mwongela Isaiah Mbiti, the petitioner in the Meru petition and Okiya Omtatah the petitioner in the Nairobi petition as interested parties.

The lobby group in its suit papers claim that there is a high likelihood of judicial crisis if the orders sought by Mwongela in Meru are granted when the matter comes up for hearing on February 12.

“ This petition should be placed urgently before a duty judge for directions as it raises constitutional issues which should be canvassed together with the Meru petition and the Nairobi petition,” it claimed in court documents.

The petition by Omtatah seeks a declaration that the Judicial Service Commission had violated the constitution by delaying to hear and determine four petitions seeking the removal of the DCJ.

Barred from duties

He also sought an order barring JSC from appointing her as the acting CJ based on the fact that the constitution does not anticipate the office of acting CJ.

Mwongela on the other hand in the Meru petition contends that Mwilu abused her office as the DCJ, acting CJ and the Ombudsman Chief by obtaining execution of a security by false pretenses hence unfit to hold public office.

The Meru court had issued orders barring Mwilu from performing duties related to her office but later set them aside for 11 days until February 12 when the application will be heard.

Judicial crisis

According to Kituo Cha Sheria, the judicial crisis created by the orders in the above cases has the potential of crippling the administration of Justice and subsequently hinder access to justice.

“Hence there is greater public interest and need for urgent directions regarding the hearing and consideration of the above cases,” they argue.

Kituo cha Sheria through lawyer John Mwariri claim the issues they have raised are urgent and weighty as they affect the administration of justice, rule of law, independence of judiciary and have impact on the conduct of public officers and access to justice in the country.

They note that the petitions are slated for hearing on February 12 and 17 February respectively and there is need for the court to urgently give directions on the canvassing of the issues in the petition.

“It is desirable that the directions are given in this matter due to the related and common questions of law, in order to save on precious judicial time and to avoid the absurd situation of the court issuing contrary orders over related and common issues,” they argue in their court papers.

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