The special tribunal looking into the conduct of Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza at the Village Market mall on New Year’s Eve, when an altercation occurred between her and security guard Rebecca Kerubo, have in effect found Baraza guilty and recommended her removal from office.
Justice Augostino Ramadhani’s statement (see Kenya Forum posting below) made it clear that the tribunal had no doubt that DCJ Baraza had refused to be searched, had tweaked the nose of Rebecca Kerubo, and in all likelihood threatened her with a gun. Whilst doing so she displayed a high handed and arrogant manner, telling Kerubo that she “should know people around here”.
KENYA’S NEW CONSTITUTION IN FORCE
Kenyans have for years lived with and grown tired of the “do you know who I am” bullying manner of high officials. They have had to put up with it but not any more.
The tribunal was able to cite Article 168 (1) (e) of the new constitution which states that a judge may be removed from office for ‘gross misconduct or misbehaviour’.
Similarly Justice Ramadhani could cite Article 75 (1) (C) which states that, ‘A State officer shall behave, whether in public and official life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner that avoids… demeaning the office the officer holds’.
Nancy Baraza may yet appeal to the Supreme Court, although her chances of success seem slim at best; she may yet be charged with assaulting and threatening to kill a security guard; or neither event may transpire and Baraza may just accept the tribunal’s findings and depart her office.
CHANGE WRIT LARGE
One thing is for certain, however, the tribunal’s findings have writ large a change that has occurred in Kenya.
Think of it: a security guard has stood up to the Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya and won; the alleged attempt to persuade witnesses to change their testimony was rebuffed; neither money nor power was able to alter the course of justice; and one the “high and mighty” in the land, who behaved in a high and mighty fashion, has been humbled and most likely sacked.
The Baraza tribunal verdict sends a message to judges, ‘State officers’ and others that they hold office on behalf of the people, not over the people: the constitution says so.