Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Thursday summoned an emergency session of the Judicial Service Commission to discuss the shopping mall incident involving his deputy.
Dr Mutunga said the matter should be “dealt with conclusively and satisfactorily” and that he was getting the facts of the Village Market incident in which a guard alleged that Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza had threatened her.
Discipline judicial officials
The JSC is the body that employs judges, magistrates and other judicial officers.
The commission can also discipline Judiciary officials or recommend to the President that a tribunal be formed to remove a judge from office.
Judges can be removed if they are found to be incompetent, breach the code of conduct for public officers, are bankrupt or are found to have misbehaved.
Dr Mutunga said: “The Judiciary is instituting its own internal investigations. In this regard, I am convening an emergency meeting of the Judicial Service Commission to discuss this matter.”
The CJ said the Constitution envisages an open and democratic society based on human dignity and non-discrimination of all Kenyans.
“Nobody or institution in Kenya is above the law. This is the creed that we strive to uphold in the Judiciary,” he said.
Dr Mutunga said the police should be allowed to conduct their own investigations “without undue influence or interference from any quarters”.
“I recognise that the police are conducting investigations into the matter which should proceed without undue influence from any quarter,” the CJ said.
On Wednesday, Ms Baraza denied threatening, Ms Rebecca Kerubo, with a gun during a scuffle at the mall.
Though she admitted that there was a confrontation with the guard, she denied the gun claim.
“I have never been issued with a gun,” Ms Baraza said.
Her denial came as Ms Kerubo spoke out about the encounter describing it as one of the most traumatising in her life.
The mother of three said she had only worked at the Village Market in Nairobi for a month.
During that time, she said, she occasionally met difficult clients who refused to be screened but had never encountered one armed with a gun.
Most businesses have stepped up security measures because of Al-Shabaab threats after the Kenya Defence Forces launched an onslaught on them in their Somalia bases.
The Village Market has said that it regrets the negative publicity around the deputy CJ’s incident, but insisted that its security measures applied to all persons visiting the shopping mall.
Ms Baraza described the incident as unfortunate and asked Kenyans to allow police to conduct their investigations.
She said that she had been apprehensive about her security in the recent past after a number of incidents in and out of her office.
She did not elaborate on the incidents in a statement sent to newsrooms, but said she had asked for extra bodyguards.
Ms Baraza is normally guarded by three police officers — two women and a man. But on Saturday when the incident happened, only two were on duty as one was said to be unwell.
The incident has drawn different comments from Kenyans in various blogs with some saying the new Constitution states that no one is above the law.
While some were in support of Ms Baraza, some condemned her for allegedly declining to be inspected by the guard. They said she should step aside until the issue is determined.
Caroline Nafula said: “The society has something against successful women, she would not have allegedly pulled the gun if she had been handled well.”
Forward Ever Hope Kipkorir said: “Ms Baraza should be out of office to pave way for investigations and police shud (sic) not allow her to intimidate Kerubo. We are waiting to see justice.”