CJ Mutunga denies bribery claims during Raila's petition

Monday April 29 2013

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga charing a session of the Supreme Court Judges during Raila Odinga's presidential petition against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 25, 2013. PHOTO / FILE

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga charing a session of the Supreme Court Judges during Raila Odinga's presidential petition against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 25, 2013. PHOTO / FILE 

By Nation Reporter

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga took to the social media on Monday morning to deny claims that he was bribed during Raila Odinga's presidential petition by against election of President Uhuru Kenyatta

Dr Mutunga, in a statement, said he has never been bribed and urged Kenyans to show respect to members of the Judiciary.

In a facebook posting titled "The Judicairy demands justice from Kenyans", the Chief Justice said allegations of bribery during the petition caused him anguish, and he could have personally arrested whoever attempted to do so.

"For me the most hurtful allegation was that I had been bribed in the Presidential Petition. I did not know where to turn. I have never been offered a bribe in my life. I have no doubt in my mind that anybody who dares offer me a bribe, regardless of status, would be the first one I arrest under the Constitution and the laws of this land," said Dr Mutunga.

In his posting, the Chief Justice recounted instances on social media in which members of the Judiciary were targets of public vitriol.

Dr Mutunga additionally urged Kenyans to treat members of the Judiciary with fairness.

"Recently the Judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, has been the target of attacks from Kenyans. We have been the target of attacks, slander, libel, and outright indecent, vulgar, and unacceptable abuses.

"All I can demand from Kenyans is justice that they demand of me and the Judiciary I head. We must give justice to each other in implementing our progressive Constitution.

"I acknowledge that public service means accountability to Kenyans. However, the same Constitution Kenyans use to demand accountability of us, and they invoke it for the protection of their freedom of speech, and for their right to public participation, also demands justice for judges and magistrates. The Constitution does not decree that Kenyans are not accountable for their actions!

"I urge Kenyans to give us justice! To do so is simple. If you have any evidence of our wrong doing the Constitution under its Article 168 allows you to petition the Judicial Service Commission for our removal. And if you do not have such evidence then give us justice, treat us as family, compatriots and fellow human beings!" said Dr Mutunga's posting.

Last Wednesday, the Chief Justice fired a fiery tweet at his critics, telling them to distinguish him as an individual and the Supreme Court

Dr Mutunga, by being the Chief Justice, is the President of the Supreme Court that rejected a presidential election petition by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga that challenged the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In its judgement, the Supreme Court said Mr Odinga failed to prove that Mr Kenyatta did not get the required votes to qualify as President-elect. (READ: Supreme Court releases judgment on presidential petition)

In the 113-page detailed judgement, the court said that it considered all the evidence presented by Mr Odinga and his co-petitioners in the matter and concluded that the evidence did not warrant nullification of Mr Kenyatta’s victory.

On Tuesday a Kenyan activist and a US scholar told a forum held in Washington that the judgement rendered by the Supreme Court damaged to its credibility. (READ: Supreme Court was 'loser' in Kenya election, forum told)

Maina Kiai, head of a civil society organisation in Nairobi, and Joel Barkan, a US think tank expert on African governance issues, both suggested that the court should have ordered a runoff between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga.