Justice Fred Ochieng courtesy The Nation
- A while ago I praised Justice Ochieng's rather robust approach to disqualification. The judge has now disqualified himself from hearing the Kamkunji petition after remarks were made against him that he had been influenced. In this case, although the advocates confirmed that they had full confidence in the judge, the petitioners advocate informed the judge that his client was uncomfortable after a third party made remarks that the judge had been bribed. The case now goes to the Chief Justice to shop for another Judge to hear the petition. Wouldn't it be proper to have the individual making these remarks substantiate the claim or face contempt proceedings? If litigants are allowed to continue making unsubstantiated allegations Judges then we would have no judges to hear any case in Kenya!
- This has been the week for stepping aside. One of the issues by the proponents of stepping aside is that the Constitution, Chapter Six on "Leadership and Integrity" requires that an officer should step aside. The general intention and spirit of the Constitution is that state officers should have utmost probity in public and private affairs. Article 80 provides that Parliament shall enact legislation establishing procedure and mechanisms for effective administration of the Chapter. Article 77 (2) requires a person who contravenes the provisions of the Article, be subject to applicable disciplinary proceedings which will be provided by an Act of Parliament. Parliament is yet to enact such legislation and has two years to do so.
- The court has now intervened and stopped the application of increased parking fees in Nairobi. What a relief! While court intervention is welcomed, I am not sure that it is the best solution. Political leaders must be sensitive to public concerns and the court should not relieve them of their obligation to listen to the citizens and take appropriate action.
- The Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Committee has been given TJRC an ultimatum to put is house in order or face disbandment. Apart from lack of of political support, I think the TJRC has two problems; the chairman and money. The Chief Justice should move swiftly to deal with the issue of the Chairman and Parliament and the Treasury should provide a solution to the long term funding of the TJRC. I doubt the utility of the ultimatum.
- Speech by Professor Githu Muigai at the admission of new advocates this week.