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26 January 2012
Nairobi — Tanzania's immediate former Chief Justice, Mr Augustino Ramadhani (pictured), will head a team of seven to investigate the conduct of Kenya's suspended deputy Chief Justice, Nancy Baraza, who stands accused of assaulting and threatening a guard at a shopping mall.
The drama is said to have taken place at the Village Market on New Year's Eve, when Ms Baraza got into a tangle with Ms Rebecca Kerubo after she refused to be frisked in a routine security check. Ms Baraza is said to have pinched the nose of the guard and threatened to shoot her.
Other members of the team named on Wednesday evening are Prof Judith Mbula Behemuka, Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley, Surinder Kapila, Beauttah Alukhava Siganga, Grace Barbara Ngele Madoka and Prof Mugambi Jesse Ndwiga Kanyua.
President Kibaki also appointed Ms Valeria Onyango as lead counsel. Gideon Solonka Kilakoi will assist the tribunal.
Justice (rtd) Ramadhani follows in the footsteps of President Jakaya Kikwete, who in 2008 helped mediate the peace process after Kenya's post-election clashes, which resulted in the formation of unity government.
President Kibaki said the tribunal would investigate the conduct of the DCJ in keeping with the Constitution and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Code of Conduct and Ethics, Legal Notice No 50 and other relevant laws.
Ms Baraza's suspension takes effect immediately and comes on the heels of a JSC recommendation on January 13 asking President Kibaki to appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct.
She has retained lawyers George Oraro, Chacha Odera and Cyprian Wekesa to act for her. "My case is in the able hands of lawyers and people should leave me alone," she said.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga petitioned the President to suspend her on the recommendation of a sub-committee of the JSC that investigated the claims against her.Yesterday, Ms Baraza filed a case seeking to stop the tribunal from investigating her conduct. In another dramatic twist, a prisoner at the Malindi GK Prison also filed a case against the decision of the JSC to petition President Kibaki to form the tribunal.
Emmanuel Boki Kibagendi filed the case at the High Court in Malindi under certificate of urgency but there was no judge to hear the matter.
Malindi Resident Judge Christine Meoli was said to be on vacation. The case could be heard in Mombasa next week.
Mr Kibagendi cites five grounds in which he says the findings of the sub-committee appointed by the JSC were arbitrary, unlawful and unconstitutional and that the execution would amount to unlawful and unconstitutional punishment in breach of five specific articles of the constitution.
The prisoner faults the JSC for adopting the report of its sub-committee, saying it relied on hearsay and failed to consider various articles and sections of the constitution.Mr Kibagendi, who is not represented, said he was filing the petition under article 22 (10) (a)(b) of the constitution and wanted the matter heard urgently since the JSC ruling and the intended petition to the President "will and shall be arbitrary, illegal and unlawful".
He asked the court to take note that the findings of the sub-committee appointed to interrogate the allegations against Ms Baraza were based on personal relations and not facts, and pose a conflict of interest in the management of justice.
In another development, President Kibaki yesterday accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura following a decision by ICC pre-trial judges to confirm charges of crimes against humanity levelled against them.
Mr Kenyatta will, however, retain his post as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government.
President Kibaki accepted their decision to step aside yesterday and appointed Nairobi Metropolitan minister Njeru Githae to act as Finance minister.
Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia takes over Mr Muthaura's duties on an acting capacity. Mutea Iringo will be Acting Permanent Secretary for Provincial Administration and Internal Security.
A statement from the Presidential Press Service stated: "The President has accepted the decision by Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside as the Minister for Finance. However, Hon. Kenyatta will retain the position of Deputy Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution."
"The President has also accepted the decision by Francis Muthaura to step aside as Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service.
"In this regard, Mr Francis T. Kimemia, CBS Permanent Secretary, Provincial Administration and Internal Security will be Acting Permanent Secretary, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Public Service."
The decision by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura to step aside follows mounting pressure from President Kibaki's coalition partners ODM for the duo to relinquish their posts.