A witness whose testimony appeared in a petition challenging the election of Godana Doyo as Isiolo governor at the last election has admitted to the High Court in Meru that she lied but she has been let off with a “stern warning”. The obscure case received little coverage in Kenya’s newspapers but it raises another issue, says the Kenya Forum.
‘WITNESS’ HAD NEVER MET HER LAWYER
The ‘witness’, Joyce Karambu, told Justice Aaron Makau that she had never met the lawyer who drafted her affidavit and now wanted to file her own.
Justice Makau warned Ms Karambu against giving false testimony, told her that the court “has the ability to take action against you if you make a mistake” and asked her why “I should not take stern action against you?” after she deliberately misled the court.
PUNISH THE WITNESS…?
Karambu pleaded in mitigation that she had four children and asked for the court to pardon her. The judge accepted that she had asked for forgiveness and added that the court did not want to punish witnesses or scare them off cases: hence, then, the “stern warning”.
You can argue whether or not Joyce Karambu should have been let off so lightly. One could argue also that although Justice Makau did not want to scare of witnesses, it might also have been a good opportunity to warn false witnesses, of which Kenya’s courts, tribunals and commissions (and at the ICC in The Hague?) have seen so many over the years, that lying and giving false testimony will not be tolerated.
… OR PUNISH THE LAWYER?
What the Kenya Forum wants to know, and our national newspapers have not deigned to point out or ask, is this: why has the lawyer who drafted an affidavit for a witness he or she has never met, not been hauled up in front of a judge, even for a “stern warning”?