Video:Lawyer takes on CJ over threat claims
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – A city lawyer has written to the Attorney General seeking to know whether Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has recorded a statement with the police over the alleged death threats he received from the outlawed Mungiki sect.
Harrison Kinyanjui who has already challenged the appointment of Mutunga says if the AG confirms that Mutunga did not file a report he will go ahead and amend his petition to include what he terms as ‘sensational acts by the CJ.’
According to the advocate, if it occurs that the head of Judiciary did not report, he will sue him for whipping up emotions of Kenyans.
“In my estimation his conduct is reckless and amounts to gross misconduct that renders him unfit to hold or further execute the affairs of the office of the Chief Justice,” he states.
Section 106 of the Penal Code, Kinyanjui contends, specifically mandates the CJ to report such threats to the police.
The lawyer goes on to say that as the head of the Judiciary “he ought to have acted to see to it that such attempt is nipped in the bud, and not to issue sensational statements that leave more questions than answers.”
Assuming that the document was a poison letter, the lawyer argues that Mutunga ought to have first proceeded to have forensic investigations conducted on the letter, including scrutinising it for fingerprints and diligent search for the handwritten postscript.
The CJ told journalists on Wednesday that he received a letter on February 18, cautioning him against issuing such a verdict that would stop the two from seeking the presidency.
Mutunga added that the letter, dated February 13, also issued grave threats to ambassadors and judges reminding them of past Mungiki deeds.
He noted that more than five judges had been attacked in the recent pasts with some of the attacks involving lethal weapons.
“My office received a poison-pen letter from the Mungiki Veterans Group/ Kenya Sovereignty Defence Squad and it warns against an adversarial ruling on the presidential and deputy presidential candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto,” he had said.
On February 15, two days after the supposed letter was written, the High Court issued a ruling clearing Kenyatta and Ruto.
Mutunga further accused the State of harassment recalling an instance on February 14 when an immigration official tried to bar him from travelling to Dar-es-Salaam since he did not purportedly have clearance from the Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia.
He also said that judicial officers were being politically intimidated, ahead of the March 4 general election, but made it clear that he would not be cowed.
“It requires quite some courage, ignorance or political patronage or a combination of all three for an immigration officer, on his own motion, to summon the confidence to stop a Chief Justice from travelling,” he said.
He further observed that a circular, which the immigration officer was referring to, did not include the Chief Justice among those required to seek government clearance.
And in an interesting twist, a letter was sent to his office when he was away, giving him the go ahead to travel to Tanzania even though he did not require it.
“Even more baffling was that the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary received a purported ‘clearance to travel’ letter by Mr Kimemia dated February 14, stating ‘it has been noted the Chief Justice is travelling to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’,” he noted.
Mutunga revealed that the Director General of the National Intelligence Service, Major-General Michael Gichangi, called him to apologise for the ‘small’ airport glitch.
“I told the DG that a Chief Justice being gratuitously stopped by anybody from travelling cannot fit the definition of a small hiccup, however generous one may want to be. It has never happened on any of my numerous previous trips,” he said.
“I have, therefore, concluded that this is deliberate harassment; and whereas I was keen to have this resolved bureaucratically, I am convinced it is political, and public accountability requires that I make it public.”
He also announced that he had sent the ‘Mungiki’ letter to the Inspector General of Police, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Director of the National Intelligence Service, and the Director of Public Prosecutions asking them to investigate the matter and give the country a progress report.
“I am also asking the Inspector General of Police to take the necessary steps to enhance the security of judges and other judicial officers at this time,” he said.