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Haji alleges plot to kick him out of office as row with Kinoti escalates

By Willis Oketch | October 28th 2021

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji in Nairobi on August 24, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has alleged a plot to kick him out of office by a clique in government trying to usurp his constitutional mandate.

In a clear sign of an escalation of the supremacy war in the criminal justice system, Haji said he would not give in to the demands of those "thinking I don't know the law."

Giving an analogy of a donkey and a cheetah on the difference of the colour of grass, the DPP likened those criticising him to the donkey that insisted the grass is blue, when the truth is, its green.

"I don’t want to be the cheater, we all know the grass is green. I may fall but I can assure you the next DPP who will come from amongst you (delegates). I assure you that the next DPP if I do fall at all, will come with much gusto to pick from where I left," he said.

"The pen has written and the ink has dried, we will not allow anybody to mutilate this Constitution," said the DPP, who lately has run-ins with Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti over the prosecution of various cases, including the murder of businessman Tom Cohen.

This comes days after lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Danston Omari representing the Cohen family petitioned for the DPP's removal at the Public Service Commission (PSC) over the case.

Another petition has also been lodged by businessman Francis Njeru citing interference in a land case.

But Haji said: "Let me say this, the pen is mightier than the sword. Even if the sword apprehends, at the end of it, It’s the pen that decides. It is the Judiciary that will decide by the stroke of the pen. Hence, the pen is mightier than the sword."

"I have fought very many battles including going to Somali to fight Al Shabaab and came I back victorious. I will still win this one. The fruits and benefits of the constitution are right here and today, the women and members of the minority group are right here," he said.

Speaking in Mombasa during the commemoration of ten years of the establishment of the National Council on Administrative Justice, which brings together his office, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Chief Justice Lady Justice Martha Koome, the Inspector General of Police (IG) Hillary Mutyambai, Kinoti among others, he called for a harmonious working relationship.

"At times, partners overstep the boundaries of their constitutional mandate as they tend to take up the role of others. This ultimately obstructs the court of justice with some partners unwilling to subject or submit themselves to constitutional scrutiny and accountability by partners within the justice system," said Haji.

The DPP maintained that he has served the country diligently and will continue to do so without fear or favour. He called for the strengthening of the justice system.

"When I reflect, two things stand out, unity and service. The police are charged with investigation and enforcement. There are other constitutional and investigative agencies with special mandates, such as the EACC, Judiciary for adjudication and correctional professional services for rehabilitation, reformation and reintegration," he stated.

"The Constitution envisages independent institutions cooperating in an independent manner in which even when there is tension, these are healthy and necessary to ensure the wheels of justice move seamlessly as each partner understands and plays their role with the realization that each partners role is equally important," Haji added.

But in a quick rejoinder, Kinoti said his officers were pursuing facts and "will, in the long run, be vindicated."

He assured that police officers will investigate all criminal cases regardless of the status of the suspect in society.

"We are following the truth and fact and at the end of the day Kenyans will know that we are the people doing the right thing," said Kinoti.

The DPP and the DCI have been at loggerheads on whether to charge Justice Sankale ole Kantai in connection with the murder of Cohen.

Haji said the tension between the parties in the justice system "has in times expressed itself in endless hostility, undercutting and at times some parties overstepping the boundaries of the constitutional mandate."

He said the differences cost Kenyans justice.

Kinoti maintained that everybody must be treated equally before the law in reference to the recent standoff over the failure by the DPP to prosecute Justice Kantai.

“We must apply the law equally without any discrimination otherwise it is only the weak who will be subjected to the law not the mighty,” said the DCI boss.

"For us police, we treat all equally. There is no big man or small man when it comes to crime. We do not discriminate," he added. 

The DCI boss urged Kenyans to embrace dialogue whenever there is a dispute between people and obey the Constitution.

Chief Justice Martha Koome who is is the chair of NCAJ launched the strategic plan.

Justice Koome who was the guest of honour steered clear of the clash between Kinoti and Haji.

The CJ promised to consult to solve issues affecting the administration of justice in the country. 

"We will continue to consult with all the stakeholders to strengthen the court users committees so that we achieve the strategic plan," said the CJ.

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