Petition to Fire Kenya’s Chief Justice in Reaction to Invalidation of Presidential Election
By Tysan, September 21, 2017: A member of parliament (MP) in Kenya has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission to fire Chief Justice David Maraga based on claims of “unprofessional interaction” with attorneys representing the party that successfully petitioned to have the recent presidential election invalidated. Maraga is an Adventist and Adventists across the African country are talking about this development.
The petition was filed by Ngunjiri Wambugu a Jubilee Party MP from Nyeri Town. President Uhuru Kenyatta was the candidate of the Jubilee Party in the August 8 election which was invalidated by the Supreme Court due to numerous problems in the collection and counting of ballots.
The petition claims that Maraga exchanged phone calls with lawyers representing the National Super Alliance (NASA), the opposition party in the election. It also states that he did not inform the other judges on the Supreme Court of these telephone conversations.
Adventist Today has learned that according to the Kenya constitution, the removal of a judge may be initiated only by the Judicial Service Commission, although any citizen can petition the commission. The constitution provides that a judge can be removed only on grounds of inability to perform the functions of office arising from mental or physical incapacity, a breach of the a code of conduct prescribed for judges by an act of parliament, bankruptcy, incompetence or gross misconduct.
The petition must submit detailing the alleged facts. “The Judicial Service Commission shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that the petition discloses a ground for removal … send the petition to the President,” states clause 4 of Article 168. The president shall within 14 days suspend the judge from office and appoint a tribunal to investigate.
The Jubilee Party has since disowned the petition. Raphael Tuju, the secretary-general of the party, stated that the party was not involved in the petition. He expressed surprise during a press conference and said, “We will talk to Wambugu to drop his petition.”
There were demonstrations against the petition in Kisumu, Nymira and Kisii counties. In Nyamira County demonstrators carried a makeshift “casket” with a picture of President Kenyatta. In Kisumu County irate youth stormed into a women’s peace meeting on Wednesday last week (September 13), searching for people buying identification cards from local residents on behalf of the Jubilee Party, allegedly to cast false ballots. Police were used teargas to disperse the youths.
The concern expressed by a number of Adventists who have talked to Adventist Today is the good name of the denomination if something unethical is found in the activities of the Adventist serving as Chief Justice. There is also concern about disorder and violence in a time of political tension.