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How plan to storm judges' event was hatched

Monday September 9 2019

judiciary

Chief Justice David Maraga delivers his speech during the commissioning of Molo Law Courts in Nakuru on July 26, 2019. There was a plan to interrupt a judges' meeting in Kilifi in August 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NATION REPORTER
By NATION REPORTER
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On the evening of August 21, Mercy Wangui approached Joseph Waragha, a newspaper vendor in Mtwapa, Kilifi County, to help her mobilise people who would take part in a protest.

The planned protest was to take place the following day at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort, about five kilometres from Mtwapa town.

At the hotel, Chief Justice David Maraga was set to meet more than 150 judges for the closing ceremony of their annual colloquium.

The middle-aged Waragha set about looking for 60 women to protest at a fee of Sh500 as promised by their boss, Ms Wangui.

Investigations by the Nation reveal that Mr Waragha mobilised market women from Mtwapa with the help of Mama Wangari, as she is commonly known within the town.

The women had zero inkling as to the issues behind their protest, only being assured that they would be briefed the next day, and execute it through a flash protest.

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LOGISTICS

The next headache for Mama Wangari, alias Mama Bahati, and Mr Waragha was how to quickly transport these women to the venue of the protest and back in case police showed up.

The two reached out to a Mr Kaviha, a local boda-boda association chairman, to help them put together a team of riders who would transport the protesters.

Mr Kaviha approached 60 riders who were each promised Sh500, with their group leaders pocketing more than Sh30,000 for the job. With the logistics in place, media coverage was the next issue.

Ms Wangui reached out to a female TV journalist in Mombasa and promised her Sh60,000 to covertly reach out to her colleagues to provide coverage, and possibly livestream it. She agreed and assembled her team that night.

Come August 23, journalists arrived early despite communication from the Judiciary that the judges’ meeting would be an indoor session, with no slot for coverage.

PRO-WARSAME CHANTS

The plea by Judiciary staff for the journalists to give the event its privacy fell on deaf ears, as the reporters waited at the hotel, not to cover the meeting, but for something odious.

A few minutes after 10am, Mr Maraga was driven in. And 10 minutes later, the group streamed in, catching Judiciary staff by surprise.

More than 100 placard-waving women lay siege to the hotel with a huge banner screaming in bold typeface: "Weka Warsame; Toa Maraga na Wakora. Wamama na Amadi, Wakora kwa Mwilu (Give us Warsame. Eject Maraga and other crooks. Women stand with Amadi, crooks with Mwilu)."

Mr (Mohammed) Warsame is a Court of Appeal judge while Ms (Anne) Amadi is the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary. Ms Philomena Mwilu is the Deputy Chief Justice.

A review of clips captured during the protest revealed that Ms Wangui was the one leading the group.

NARCOTICS TRADE

During the carefully choreographed protest, which lasted for about 10 minutes, only two people were allowed to speak to the media — Mama Wangari - who was clad in dark sunglasses and a headscarf - and Mr Waragha.

To mask their identities, they declined to reveal their names, only stating their grievances.

They accused the Judiciary of protecting drug barons and abetting graft. They blamed the Judicial Service Commission for undermining reforms and institutionalising corruption.

Unbeknown to many, the financier of the protest, said to be a shadowy government operative, was closely monitoring and supervising.

The man who had a meeting with Ms Wangui the previous day wore a cowboy hat.

INTENTIONS

As police arrived, the protesters dispersed while the boda-boda chairman was given Sh30,000 to pay his team.

“The money was not enough as the boda-bodas exceeded the planned number. Some of them missed their pay. I was left to shoulder the blame,” said the chairman.

Ms Wangui has since gone underground as some of the protesters are yet to be paid. She allegedly received Sh30,000 to pay the women.

Questions abound over the identity of the organisers. Was someone out to embarrass the CJ? Or was it factions within the Judiciary bringing their supremacy battles out in the public?

Police are still trying to establish the identity of “cowboy-hat man” and the forces behind him.