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Tobiko row a test case for Mutunga

Monday June 20 2011

Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko. Photo/FILE

Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko. Photo/FILE 

By PAUL JUMA

Kenya’s new Chief Justice Willy Mutunga now has one more urgent matter to deal with, even before he settles in his new office: the question of Mr Keriako Tobiko.

On the same day that Dr Mutunga took oath of office, the High Court forwarded to his office an application seeking a declaration that Mr Tobiko’s nomination and appointment as the Director for Public Prosecutions was unconstitutional.

Mr Tobiko, who was sworn-in on Monday alongside Dr Mutunga, survived allegations of corruption as Parliament approved his nomination and the President appointed him.

Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza was also sworn in on Monday.

Only hours after the swearing-in, activists from Kenya Youth Parliament and Kenya Youth League were before Lady Justice Jeanne Gacheche, where they had hoped to obtain a declaration that Mr Tobiko’s appointment flew in the face of constitutional provisions of leadership and integrity.

They had also hoped that the court would immediately declare that the President, while exercising his constitutional powers of appointment, must do so subject to the provisions on leadership and integrity contained in the Constitution.

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The court declined to make the declarations in the preliminary, but certified the matter as urgent and directed that the file be taken to the office of the Chief Justice under Article 165 of the Constitution.