Acting CJ Mwilu gets reprieve to discharge duties until March 4

DCJ Philomena Mwilu at a Milimani court. [George Njunge, Standard]

The High Court sitting in Meru has given Deputy Chief Justice Philemona Mwilu up to March 4 to continue acting as head of Judiciary in a case filed by a petitioner.

Isaiah Mwongela is seeking to have Mwilu stopped from acting as Judiciary head, Supreme Court judge and chair of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) due to cloud of integrity issues hanging over her head.

The petitioner was first granted orders against Mwilu on January 29 by Justice Patrick Jeremy Otieno who on the February 1 temporarily suspended those orders for 11 days after Mwilu filed an urgent application seeking to suspend the decision barring her from occupying her office and discharging her duties as the acting Chief Justice.

Those in court to argue the case for Mwilu was her lead lawyer Julie Soweto assisted by James Orengo and Mutula Kilonzo junior.

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) team led by Nelson Havi, his deputy Carolyne Daudi and council member Esther Angáwa also showed up to offer support to the DCJ’s cause.

Several other lawyers including Janet Kungu for the Attorney General, Charles Kanjama for the JSC and senior counsel Dr John Khaminwa for Kituo Cha Sheria alongside equal rights activist Okiya Omtata yesterday sought to be enjoined in the matter.

The judge, in a virtual session, first disposed with the applications by the Omtata and Kituo Cha Sheria to be enjoined in the case and took a break to give his directions before resuming for another heated session.

Lawyer Marius Maranya for the petitioner supported the admission of Omtata due to public interest but opposed the Kituo Cha Sheria petition saying it was not related to their case. Mwilu’s lawyers opposed the admission of the two cases.

While agreeing to admit Omtata and Kituo cha Sheria to the case, the judge noted that it would not be in the interest of expeditious hearing and disposal of matters to have their petitions handled separately.