Chief Justice Willy Mutunga at a past event. Lawyers in Mombasa on July 27, 2015 launched a bid to kick him out over alleged skewed posting of judges and magistrates. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP.
- The lawyers want Dr Mutunga out for alleged marginalisation of the Mombasa station in posting judges and magistrates.
- Mr Nyongesa said they intended to collect at least 1,000 signatures from lawyers, wananchi and litigants.
- The petition to be presented to the Parliamentary Committee on the Administration of Justice shall also seek the dissolution of the Judicial Service Commission.
They want Dr Mutunga out for alleged marginalisation of the Mombasa station in the posting of judges and magistrates.
Led by the Law Society of Kenya Mombasa branch chairman Eric Nyongesa, the 'learned friends' began collecting the signatures shortly before 9am.
Wearing green ribbons as a sign of peace, the group converged on Mombasa law courts compound where they have set up a desk.
JSC IN THE PLAN
Mr Nyongesa said they intended to collect at least 1,000 signatures from lawyers, wananchi and litigants.
The will set up desks in other parts of Mombasa and the exercise will last for a week, he told Nation.co.ke.
According to the lawyers, the petition to be presented to the Parliamentary Committee on the Administration of Justice shall also seek the dissolution of the Judicial Service Commission.
Should Parliament fail to address their issues adequately, Mr Nyongesa said, they would file a constitutional petition at the High Court seeking the ouster of Dr Mutunga.
He added that should all their options fail, they would hire buses and lead demos to the Supreme Court, where they will stage a sit-in until their concerns are addressed.
The lawyers also took issue with transfer of “experienced” judges to set up High Court stations in areas they feel do not have a big workload.
Mr Nyongesa argued that they are not against the devolution of the judiciary services but there is need to empower existing courts before looking at the new stations.
He said Mombasa has seven judges, including those handling Environment and Land Court and Employment and Labour Relations cases, compared to Nairobi and its environs, which has 62.
“You do not open marginalised areas in a haphazard manner, what the CJ is doing is engaging in populist action,” said Mr Nyongesa.
The chairman also took issue with lack of an admiralty court (dealing with ships and maritime issues), saying all Kenyan cases are currently being filed in South Africa.
“There is no admiralty judge in Mombasa,” said Mr Nyongesa who noted the growth of the port of Mombasa.
In June, the lawyers issued a 14-day ultimatum to the CJ to post additional judges and magistrates to the Mombasa station.
Last week, Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi said the deployment of judicial and non-judicial staff is based on skills, seniority, competence, integrity and gender balance.
“The policy is cognizant of case data and the need to reduce physical distances litigants have to cover to access court services,” said Ms Amadi in a statement to newsrooms.
Ms Amadi said the transfer of judicial officers in Mombasa is not abrupt since they (judges) have until September to move to their new stations.
“Importantly, with new High Court stations in Voi and Tana River, the Coast region will have a total of 11 judges,” said Ms Amadi.