The race to succeed Chief Justice David Maraga has begun in earnest with a petition to block his deputy from taking over the position.
Justice Maraga is expected to proceed on terminal leave tomorrow, pending his retirement on January 12, paving way for Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu to take over in acting capacity until the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) appoints his successor.
But activist Okiya Omtatah, through an urgent suit filed at the High Court, wants Justice Mwilu stopped from assuming the top judicial job on grounds that she is not fit to hold the position.
“There are four cases questioning the DCJ’s integrity pending before the JSC and others before courts. She cannot assume the roles of a CJ with such issues on her head without bringing the judiciary into disrepute,” said Omtatah.
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Justice Mwilu is also expected to act as the commission’s chairperson and president of the Supreme Court.
Among the cases he has cited is the one filed by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti against the DCJ.
But the High Court declared the criminal case illegal, ruling that any complaint against a judge should be filed before the JSC.
The DDP and the DCI then filed the complaint with the JSC, but the proceedings were stopped by the High Court after Mwilu filed a petition accusing some commissioners of bias and having a predetermined decision to remove her from office.
Omtatah argued that such cases are likely to make the public lose confidence in the institution.