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CJ Mutunga’s reaction on criticism eroding his credibility

By Muhangani Shilovele | May 2nd 2013

By Muhangani Shilovele

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s outbursts at the critics of the Supreme Court ruling on presidential election petition is quite unfortunate and disturbing.

First, these reactions are eroding his credibility and squeezing out of him the value and esteem Kenyans and international community had bestow on him.

While it may be his constitutional right to react to his critics, I believe his choice of language and the swift response is almost bordering to an intent of intolerant temperament - an issue that was a subject of discussion on former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza who was found to have uncontrollable tempers by the commission which was constituted to investigate her conduct and ruled that such character was not good for a practicing judge.

It defeats reason and logic for the Chief Justice to engage in such a tirade especially on social media with his critics while he is fully aware that the work of a judge entails criticism especially from the losing side.

The same scenario is always despicted in a football match where the referees sometimes are castigated and called names by the fans of the loosing team, but it is quite rare to see the referee engaging the unruly crowd in a tirade.

My humble advice to the learned friend is that he should not just throw a blanket condemnation to his critics because of the following reasons:

One, by the virtue of being the president of the Supreme Court whose judgements are final and cannot be appealed against, it doesn't mean that they are infallible in their ruling and immune from committing mistakes. And what is wrong if people can use other available avenues to express their contrally opinion since the judgement cannot be appealed elsewhere?

Two, the ruling on the presidential election petition by the Supreme Court has far reaching implications and is likely to be used as a frame of references by the law scholars who will be handling similar cases in future, therefore it is not wrong when there is constructive criticism to point out flaws that other law scholars feel the court overlooked.

Three, the Supreme Court ruling has not only aroused criticism from within but has also irked some international condemnation especially from some of Africa's distinguished law scholars.

Now my question is, if  the CJ has threatened to take to court those who are castigating his ruling,  will he also do the same to the international community  which did not approve his verdict?

Last but not least, when the CJ gave his record ruling of less than five minutes which Kenyans had waited with abated breath, he promised  to give a detailed judgement for  public perusal, so what did he expect after the perusal?

Open up to criticism Mr. CJ, it is the only way to learn and improve.

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