Chief Justice Willy Mutunga needs an official residence according to the Judiciary, one that befits his position, with parking space for at least 20 cars and a verandah sufficient to accommodate 100 guests. It sounds a bit grand but wily Willy will probably deserve the perks of the job with all the difficult decisions he has facing him between now and swearing in the next President of Kenya.
The tender for the CJ’s new residence was put out on Monday. Those interested will pitch for a contract to build a fully furnished mansion with a minimum of five all-ensuite bedrooms, detached servants quarters, a parlour, a meeting room, dining room, bar, kitchen, laundry, TV room, computer room and swimming pool. All fully furnished, of course, and situated in a “serene and secure location”.
… AND A HELICOPTER
Back in July of this year Willy Mutunga called on the Judiciary to buy a helicopter, saying it was the only convenient way to reach courts in remote districts. It would also be cost effective and could be rented out when free, he argued. There’s no mention of a helipad in the tender specification for the CJ’s new residence however, which surely is an oversight.
“CORRUPT OR FRAUDULENT” NEED NOT APPLY
If you are thinking of putting in for the job of building the CJ’s new house be warned, any tenderer found to have been in “corrupt or fraudulent practices” can be “debarred from participating in Public Procurement in Kenya” (that will surely shorten the list, says a cynical Kenya Forum).
So if you are proven to have been involved in “corrupt or fraudulent” practices you will not be allowed to build a house whereas if you are thinking of running for elected office you may be barred from doing so, ‘if your integrity has been called into question’. It is on this point that CJ Willy Mutunga, as head of the Supreme Court, has been asked to deliberate by Attorney-General Githu Muigai.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL – ‘SEALING HOLES’ IN THE CONSTITUTION
Muigai has asked the Supreme Court to find a way of ‘sealing holes in the Constitution’, in the first instance by resolving Articles 38 and 10 (of the other instances, more later).
Article 38 (3) (c) says that, ‘Every adult citizen has a right, without unreasonable restrictions, to be a candidate for public office…’ but Article 10 ‘binds all State officers to national values and principles of governance which includes… rule of law… integrity and accountability’.
You know where we and the Attorney-General are going with this, don’t you. With Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto due up before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague starting next April 10 but Kenya’s next election due on March 4, 2013, will they, should they, be allowed to stand?
A FURTHER COMPLICATION OR TWO…
The problem is complicated by the fact that if the first round of Kenya’s election of a new President is inconclusive a second round will be held up to 37 days later, around about… April 10. It is therefore not beyond the realms of possibility that Kenya’s next President will be sworn in by CJ Willy Mutunga and then have to fly of for trial in front of the ICC.
Just as with the ICC, justice in Kenya is partly political, as much to do with real politic and practicality as it is with the law and the stipulations of the new Constitution. Can a man who has not as yet been found guilty of a crime be barred from standing for election? Can a man elected as President of the Republic of Kenya really be allowed to be hauled off in front of the ICC?
Work that one out Willy and you’ll deserve a swim in your new pool before sitting at the bar for a stiff drink in your new palace, sorry, official residence.