Supreme Court petition: Judge Smokin Wanjala interjects, warns lawyers

Supreme Court judge Smokin Wanjala. [File, Standard]

In the last hour, leading up to the close of Day One of the presidential petition hearing at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Kenyans were treated to a spectacle as Senior Counsels Tom Ojienda and Prof. Githu Muigai differed on client representation.

Almost ten minutes into his submission, Ojienda, appearing for Okiya Omtatah was stopped dead on his tracks as former Attorney-General Muigai stood to correct him on utterances he had previously made.

Ojienda argued before court that the presidential results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairperson Wafula Chebukati were unconstitutional, because "they did not come from the commission".

The lawyer would go on to tell court that Chebukati was not compliant with Article 81(A) and (D) of the Constitution, and that the August 9 elections were not verifiable, much as voting took place.

But Muigai, appearing for the commission and Chebukati seemed to take issue with the adverse mention of his client.

The former AG would interrupt Ojienda's submission saying: "Let us conduct this petition in the very-long honoured tradition that each counsel argues his or her case without any sideshow."

Before Omtatah's lawyer Ojienda could gather his thoughts and respond, he was also interjected by Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala.

"...counsel, I'm speaking," Wanjala told Ojienda, adding: "I think you should treat your colleagues with respect. We all know who is representing who... Make your point."

Just minutes before Ojienda's submissions, Justice Wanjala would again caution Lawyer Willis Otieno against using "alien language in court."

Otieno, appearing for the fourth petitioner, David Kariuki Ngari, would belt out a popular nursery rhyme "picky picky ponky" while demonstrating his points.

It was, however, a short-lived moment as Wanjala interjected, warning him to steer from using unknown language in court.

"Be careful. That language appears to be alien to this court," the judge said.