Contradictions in criminal justice system worrying

Are some sinners bigger in the eyes of the DCI? Can the criminal be more important than the crime? Of course.

A DCI detective told us that “Prophet Owour is not like a Mukorino from Kawangware. We cannot just summon him anyhow.” Based on this ‘summoning criteria’, we can deduce that the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich falls under the ‘Mukorino from Kawangware category’ since he was summoned for a 12-hour grilling.

On March 19, the controversial Pastor Ng’ang’a was charged and prosecuted for threatening a journalist. Just last year, a senior NASA strategist also reportedly threatened a blogger. In both instances, the intimidators promised some ‘unspecified consequences’ to the media men. Both ultimatums were caught on tape. But in this case, it is Pastor Ng’ang’a who is the ‘Mukorino from Kawangware.’

Last month, we read that Sameer CEO Nashaud Merali was conned out of Sh80 million bob by a guy pretending to be the President. The plot thickens when we learn that the intention for the transaction was to secure tenders. Merali is definitely nowhere close to being in the Kawangware Mukorino category because he can even report a crime where he himself looks like he was participating in a crime; bribery. It is like a burglar filing a lawsuit against his victim, because the person he was trying to rob beat him up.

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Anyway, we don’t know why the DCI has made it seem like the Mukorino deserves the least regard in the chain of justice. We can only assume that the poor religious man is a euphemism for ‘people who matter the least’ in the criminaljustice chain. And because of this, we have a problem. The problem is that the DCI’s priority seems to be to ‘look busy’. That is why the contradictions and inconsistencies occur.

Remember that the DCI is at the beginning of the criminaljustice chain. A case begins there for investigations, and then goes to the DPP who undertakes the prosecution, then to the Judiciary, which does the trial and judgment, and thereafter to the Prisons, which does punishment and rehabilitation. So the contradictions that happen at the first point of this criminaljustice chain jeopardise the whole course of justice itself.

And this is beginning to show.  The DPP ends up initiating cases that have not met the evidentiary threshold, the result is that convictions, especially high net crimes are rare. In fact, at the anti-corruption summit, the DPP told us that he has dropped 11 charges because there wasn’t sufficient evidence. The cases would’ve been waste of the courts’ time.

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In February, judges stated that between July 2017 and Dec 2018 a total of 91 corruption cases were determined. Of these, there were only 46 convictions.

A DCI that undertakes investigation processes for the sake of optics is dangerous for two reasons. The first is that the DCI invites us, the public, to be co-investigators. We also become the prosecutors, the judges and the executioners, in the process ruining people’s lives and careers.

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Ideally, the real Judiciary will only convict guilty persons. But the threshold in the court of public opinion is very low. If many people think that you are guilty, then you are guilty. But in a court of law- the threshold is ‘beyond reasonable doubt.

Secondly, as much as ‘public participation’ in investigation entertains us, it places the majority of us at risk, since in reality, the majority of us are just like ‘Mukorinos in Kawangware’ to be summoned, charged, and prosecuted ‘anyhow.’

- The writer is a PhD candidate in political economy at SMC University. Email: [email protected]

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