Saturday, 4 May 2013

Raila attacks CJ over poll petition verdict

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi yesterday on arrival from London, UK, where he attended a business summit. PHOTO/ANTHONY OMUNGA| NATION
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi yesterday on arrival from London, UK, where he attended a business summit. PHOTO/ANTHONY OMUNGA| NATION 
Posted  Friday, May 3  2013 at  21:17
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga Saturday made a scathing attack on Chief Justice Willy Mutunga over the Supreme Court judgment that dismissed his petition challenging President Kenyatta’s election victory.
Mr Odinga accused Dr Mutunga of presiding over an “injustice” and told him to stop complaining about bribery allegations levelled against him.
“Remember that 800 pages of our evidence were struck out by the Supreme Court with a stroke of the pen. Then the same court goes ahead to say that there was no evidence, is this justice or injustice?” Mr Odinga asked.
“When the Chief Justice says he is offended, he should know that there are Kenyans out there who are more offended than him,” a visibly agitated Mr Odinga added.
It was the first time Mr Odinga was publicly expressing his views on Dr Mutunga, who chaired the six-judge bench that heard his petition.
Must be reformed.
Mr Odinga had just taken a swipe at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over the manner it conducted the March 4 election when a journalist asked him whether he respected or disagreed with the Supreme Court judgment.
“We had a lot of evidence showing the misconduct of the IEBC, even the court said the IEBC should be investigated.  This IEBC must be reformed, Kenyans cannot afford to go into another election with this team,” he said.
Mr Odinga said that whereas he respected the Supreme Court judgment, he did not agree with it. “I said that I respect the ruling but that does not mean I agree with it,” he said.
Dr Mutunga and Justices Philip Tunoi, Njoki Ndung’u, Smokin Wanjala, Jackton Ojwang’ and Mohamed Ibrahim have been criticised on social media following their unanimous judgment dismissing Mr Odinga’s petition. 
This prompted Dr Mutunga to post on Facebook that he had never been bribed and urged Kenyans to show respect for the Judiciary.
He said allegations of bribery had caused him anguish.
“Recently the Judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, has been the target of attacks from Kenyans. We have been the target of attacks, slander, libel, and outright indecent, vulgar and unacceptable abuses.
“For me, the most hurtful allegation was that I had been bribed in the presidential petition. I did not know where to turn. I have never been offered a bribe in my life. I have no doubt in my mind that anybody who dares offer me a bribe, regardless of status, would be the first one I arrest under the Constitution and the laws of this land,” Dr Mutunga said.
He urged Kenyans to be fair to the Judiciary.
“All I can demand from Kenyans is justice that they demand of me and the Judiciary I head. We must give justice to each other in implementing our progressive Constitution.
“I urge Kenyans to give us justice! To do so is simple. If you have any evidence of our wrong doing the Constitution, under Article 168, allows you to petition the Judicial Service Commission for our removal. And if you do not have such evidence then give us justice, treat us as family, compatriots and fellow human beings!” he added.
Mr Odinga was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) yesterday morning on his arrival from the UK where he attended the “Times Africa CEO’s Summit” on investment opportunities on the continent.
Mr Odinga wooed investors to Kenya, saying there were abundant opportunities, resources and skilled manpower.
The former PM called for the adoption of a parliamentary system of government for Kenya to check tribalism.
“We need parliamentary democracy where the party with a majority of MPs forms the government. It is the only way a person from a small community like the Maasai or Samburu can ascend to power. It is a system which has worked very well in mature democracies all over the world,” Mr Odinga argued.
Big man syndrome
“It is something which needs to be debated here in Kenya as we go forward,” he added.
Mr Odinga said Africa was transiting from military dictatorship and one-party rule to multi-partyism and it was imperative that systems that support democracy are entrenched. “Africa is moving away from the big man syndrome, the days of Mr President, the big man.”
Mr Odinga and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama were the key speakers at the summit.

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