Uhuru suspends judge, picks team to hear petition

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome with Judges of the Environment and Land Court at State House, Nairobi during the swearing-in ceremony of recently gazetted Judges Nairobi on June 04, 2021. [PSCU, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended Environment and Land Court judge Mary Muthoni Gitumbi and appointed a tribunal to determine whether she should be removed from office on medical grounds.

This follows a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that the judge is unable to perform her duties well.

JSC considered various medical reports, which they say disclosed the judge’s “inability to perform the functions of office arising from mental incapacity under Article 168 (1) (a) of the Constitution.”

Through a Gazette Notice dated August 23, 2021, the President consequently appointed Lady Justice Omondi Hellen Amolo to head the seven-member tribunal.

It is the first time a judge will appear before a tribunal on medical grounds.

The President also appointed High Court judge Luka Kimaru, Labour Court judge Linnet Ndolo, lawyer Peter Munge, Mary Martha Nyakado Bonyo, Dr Frank Njenga and Dr Margaret Othieno as members to the tribunal.

Joint secretaries of the tribunal will be Josiah Musili and the acting Director-General for Health, Dr Patrick Amoth.

The person expected to prosecute the case will be senior lawyer at the Attorney General’s office Emmanuel Bitta, assisted by Peter Muriithi Njeru.

Meanwhile, Uhuru has declared vacancies in three commissions.

The President’s declaration marked the start of the hunt for the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, two members to occupy the National Gender and Equality Commission and four members and the chairperson of Kenya National Human Rights Commission.