Former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza has blamed her colleagues at the Judiciary for orchestrating her exit.
In 2012, a tribunal formed to try Ms Baraza after allegations that she assaulted a security guard recommended her sacking.
Baraza later withdrew a plan to appeal the tribunal’s ruling and opted to resign saying she expected no justice from the Supreme Court.
Seven years later, Baraza says she was unfairly treated, and that some of her colleagues in the Judiciary and government have gotten away with worse things.
In an exclusive interview on KTN News’ Point Blank last night, Baraza who is now a senior law lecturer at the University of Nairobi, disclosed that she has since apologised to Rebecca Kerubo, the lady she was accused of assaulting at a shopping mall in Nairobi on December 31, 2011.
Describing the incident as “a security lapse’ on her side, Baraza however insisted her colleagues used the incident to target her with malice for being an “outsider.” She argued that if the same high standards applied against her were used against all State officers, many would be in jail.
While recounting her dramatic ouster in 2012, Baraza, who served as the first deputy chief justice under the 2010 constitution, claimed it was maliciously orchestrated by her colleagues.
However, Baraza said she had moved on and was no longer bitter about the incident.
“What happened was unfortunate. But I think it attracted other malevolent forces from outside. I think other forces joined the war and that is why I say I was not treated fairly,” she said.
She singled out a Court of Appeal judge, who she claimed planted stories in the media to see her out of the Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) job.
“It became a media feast (for) my own colleagues from the Judiciary, and these are not lies because whoever they were calling I was able to get the information. For example, a judge from the Court of Appeal would call somebody from the media and tell them to “keep the story rolling until she gets out,” she said.
She said the motive was to taint her reputation and force her to resign even if a tribunal did not find her guilty.
“People were calling the media, people were paying people to throw things to the media. The reasoning was that even if she survives the tribunal, she should have no face to come back to the Supreme Court,” she said.
Baraza said the DCJ position was not jinxed, although her successor, Justice Kalpana Rawal also exited under a cloud of controversy and the current holder, Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, is fighting to stop corruption allegations.
“I don’t know the politics behind it. But if it is because someone has made a mistake that warrants being tossed out then that is okay. But for me, I feel the standards applied on me were too high in the sense that after I left people have done worse things and they have not been harassed the way I was,” she said.
She said if the country applied similar anger used against her on corrupt officials, the war against corruption would have been won by now.
“I keep saying if we employed the same anger as Kenyans, the same anger they applied on me then we would be driving all the thieves out of offices. I say if you set standards then apply them, otherwise someone will say they were unfairly targeted,” she said.
She said her entry to the judiciary disturbed the status quo, and that she and the then Chief Justice Willy Mutunga were regarded as “outsiders.”
“That debate was misplaced because once the Constitution was adopted, it opened the space for everybody, whether you were from within or outside. But there was this feeling, which is still there, that Mutunga and I were outsiders. There was that awkwardness,” she said.
On the fight against corruption, Baraza admitted that there was rampant cases of corruption in the Judiciary, but faulted Kenyans for not being willing to share information about scourge.
“Corruption in the Judiciary has always been there and that is why Kenyans wanted it reformed. But the problem is that our people are not ready to come out and point the corrupt judges,” she said.
She argued the the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has failed to hold high integrity standards, saying it must rein in corrupt members to restore people’s confidence.
The former DCJ called for additional resources to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
“We have had corruption before but not in this magnitude. I sympathise with the President because he has a monster in the name of corruption. I would ask him to provide more resources to the agencies mandated to fight corruption. What I see is a reaction of a president under frustration,” she said.
She said Asset Recovery Agency should do more and start by going for “low lying fruits.”
The former DCJ said judicial reforms had failed to expedite court processes, citing a case in Kiambu that has delayed for two years.
“The courts have done very well in some areas, but we have a few hiccups. I went back to my law firm and once in a while I file a case, and we are not getting judgements on time,” she said.
She suggested that the Judiciary should develop a system of monitoring individual judge’s or magistrate’s performance.
“I think some of the judges are over worked while others are not doing as they are expected to,” she said.
On the elusive two-thirds gender requirement, Baraza has faulted Parliament for frustrating its implementation.