By Wahome Thuku
The resignation of Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza on Thursday came as a relief to the Judiciary, which was already readying for a constitutional crisis caused by her decision to challenge a tribunal ruling.
Baraza’s appeal against the recommendations of the tribunal to have her sacked was a test case for the Supreme Court and Judiciary, which is credited for leading public institutions in reforms.
Coming one day before Chief Justice Willy Mutunga briefs the country on the state of the Judiciary, Baraza’s decision to quit is welcome.
Her implication in allegations of assaulting security guard Rebecca Kerubo at a shopping mall in Nairobi on December 31, last year, has been the heaviest load of disgrace the Judiciary has had to endure in months.
Baraza handed in her resignation to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Thursday, saying she expected no justice from the Supreme Court and in particular her immediate boss Mutunga.
She confirmed resigning as DCJ and Vice-President of the court. And though she said she tendered her letter to the JSC, her statement was addressed to President Kibaki.
Article 167(5) of the Constitution provides that the Chief Justice and any other judge may resign by giving a written notice to the President.
Baraza’s exit, however, sparked an intense debate on the social media with many people questioning why she had not quit earlier to save the State time and resources in investigating the misconduct.
Also of concern was whether the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko would now charge her in court for allegedly assaulting Kerubo at the Village Market.
Tobiko had said he shelved the prosecution to allow the investigation by a tribunal set up by President Kibaki. Later, the DPP indicated the prosecution would wait for her appeal case at the Supreme Court.