Lobby renews push to oust judges Martha Koome, Fatuma Sichale

IBRAHIM ORUKO

By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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The Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) has renewed its push to have three appellate judges removed from office even though the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had early in the year dismissed their complaint.

Through its director, Mr Khalef Khalifa, the group has rejected the decision by the JSC which dismissed its complaint against Justices Erastus Githinji, Martha Koome and Fatuma Sichale.

The lobby argues that the manner in which the commission handled the complaint was bias as there was reluctance on the part of the commission to establish the truth.

“Our client finds the commission’s response not truthful and very protective of the judges as the complaint was not considered in its totality,” Mr Khalifa says in a protest letter to JSC through Oruenjo, Kibet and Khalid Advocates.

In April 23, 2018, Mr Khalifa and a Mr Hassan Abdi Abdille filed a complaint to the JSC against the three judges accusing them of professional misconduct in the way they handled an appeal by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The appeal was challenging a high court order that found that the appointment of the returning officers and their deputies for the 2017 General Election was illegal.

Justice George Odunga had ruled that the process of appointing the returning officers and their deputies was done contrary to the law and while he faulted the IEBC over the appointments, he fell short of cancelling the repeat presidential election that took place on October 26,2017.

Mr Khalifa and Mr Abdille argued that IEBC made the appointments without following the laid down procedure, ignoring the need for transparency and accountability in the process.

Later that day, the Court of Appeal, through the three judges, suspended the high court judgment in what they argued was a move to avert a constitutional crisis after IEBC filed the appeal.

The three judges reasoned that the high court decision had the potential of rendering the repeat presidential election irregular even before they were held thus “precipitating another election outside 60 days in contravention of the provisions of Article 140(3) of the Constitution.

Muhuri insists the manner in which the three judges carried out the appeal falls within the realm of professional misconduct and filed a complaint seeking their removal from office.

In its complaint, dated April 23, 2018, Muhuri questioned why the three judges heard the matter before informing them as required of such a hearing.

It demanded JSC to supply records of the court proceedings on October 25, 2017.

But JSC, in its reply, JSC through the Chief of Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi dismissed the complaint arguing that the JSC was the wrong forum.


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