The star-studded cast of lawyers representing Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu in court today evokes memories of the presidential poll petition one year ago.
Under Siaya Senator James Orengo, the same man who led a huddle of lawyers into convincing the Supreme Court to void President Uhuru Kenyatta’s vote on grounds of anomalies, the Judiciary’s number two in command is spoiling for a bruising battle she hopes will save her both face and job.
Working in concert with Mr Orengo are his counterpart from Nyamira County Okong’o Omogeni, senior lawyer John Khaminwa, Mr Harun Ndubi, Mr Edward Waswa and at least five others— all lawyers who have handled some of the watershed cases in the country.
Like Mr Orengo, Mr Omogeni and Mr Khaminwa are all Senior Counsel.
Justice Mwilu has already indicated that her defence team will be arguing that the matter in question is a civil case involving a commercial bank and its client.
Police, however, insist that since depositors’ money was lost in the said matter, the case can only be criminal.
Earlier Tuesday, Mr Omogeni lost a battle with a team led by the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to have the case handled by Ms Mwilu’s employer, the Judicial Service Commission.
The choice of lawyers will somewhat politicise the case since both Mr Orengo and Mr Omogeni are close allies of the opposition chief Raila Odinga.
The association could reinforce rumours which swelled among Jubilee Party supporters around the time of the petition that Ms Mwilu was actually sympathetic to Mr Odinga.
Being part of the majority that overturned Mr Kenyatta’s victory, talk is rife that her arrest could have something to do with “revisiting”, what is considered Mr Kenyatta’s threat to ‘sort elements in the judiciary who humiliated him’.
Chief Justice David Maraga agreed with the DCJ, Justices Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola that the electoral body messed up transmission of poll results and ordered fresh elections.
Judges Jackton Ojwang and Njoki Ndung'u dissented while Judge Mohammed Ibrahim, who fell ill on the second day of the case hearing, did not take part in the decision.