Justice Chitembwe appeals ouster from office at the Supreme Court
Justice Juma Chitembwe has lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court following his removal from office by a tribunal led by Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi.
Chitembwe, who is represented by P.W. Wena and Company Advocates, contested the decision by the tribunal, stating that he did not agree with the move to oust him.
Chitembwe argued that his conduct was in line with the Constitution and differed from the findings of the tribunal. In a petition filed at the apex court on February 14, Chitembwe stated that he intends to appeal against the whole decision of the tribunal.
“The tribunal unanimously found that Judge Chitembwe breached the Constitution while discharging his duties,” Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi had earlier stated.
The tribunal members included lawyer James Ochieng’ Oduol, Senior Counsel Fred Ojiambo, Labour Relations Court Judge Nzioki wa Makau, and High Court judge Abida Ali Aroni.
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta had tasked the 12-member tribunal to investigate allegations against Chitembwe on May 19, 2022.
The Judicial Service Commission had recommended his removal from office on May 4, 2022, and Uhuru suspended him in line with the recommendations. Deputy President William Ruto confirmed receiving the tribunal’s recommendations on February 7, 2023, stating that he would comply with the Constitution.
Chitembwe’s appeal now throws the matter to the Martha Koome-led Supreme Court, which will examine whether the tribunal’s findings and recommendation are consistent with the Constitution. The matter raises a crucial question on the application of the Constitution in the administration of justice and whether the decision of the tribunal violated the law.
Chitembwe’s appeal is significant since it touches on the judiciary’s independence, which is a critical pillar of democracy. The outcome of the appeal will determine whether the tribunal acted within the law and whether the judiciary can discharge its mandate without undue interference.
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