Is Mrima employing judicial activism in Kinoti’s case?


DCI Boss George Kinoti
Joseph Mutua Ndonga
mutuandonga@yahoo.com

Worth Noting:

  • Besides, the judge should have sought to know how many guns the law allows a civilian to own; make and type of the firearm. If the law allows only one, how did Wanjigi acquire seven? Who issued licenses to him?
  • We know the tycoon is a politician and has since declared that he was in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. Currently, he is busy campaigning. So, could it turn out he is using this case to popularize himself? This is after realizing that he stood no chance as majority of Kenyans had no time for him. Time will tell.

I have heard the High Court judge Antony Mrima insisting that the warrant of arrest he issued against the Director of Criminal Investigation [DCI] George Kinoti is cast on stone. It cannot be reversed.

He has demonstrated this by rejecting two review applications filed State counsels representing the Attorney General. This includes the new evidence that sought to exonerate the DCI boss from any wrongdoing.

It should be noted the judicial reviews had been filed within the timelines set out in law. So, why dismiss them out rightly? Is this indication he was employing judicial activism tricks in this matter?

Kinoti is said to have ignored a court order issued by Judge Chacha Mwita in 2019. He had been directed him to return the seven high caliber guns and rounds of ammunition he had allegedly recovered at the palatial home of businessman tycoon Jimmy Wanjigi during a raid. This happened during the tenure of Kinoti’s predecessor Ndegwa Mohoro.

This would bring to fore two questions. Who keeps the firearms recovered/recalled from civilians? Is it the DCI boss or the Firearms Licensing Board [FLB]. The power is exclusively exercised by the latter. So, it means Judge Chacha was asking the wrong person.

Nevertheless, reports indicated that FLB had fully complied with Chacha’s order. It wrote to Wanjigi asking him to go and collect his guns but he failed to do so.

Notably, the raid had been carried out by special security forces and it happened in the wake of the swearing in of the ODM leader Raila Odinga as the ‘People’s President’.

Wanjigi and other top luminaries of opposition coalition NASA had reportedly played a key role in organizing this event. Special Forces mean that all security organs were involved.  So, why target Kinoti?

Well, Wanjigi had opted to file the Contempt of Court case against the DCI boss.  How did the Judge Mrima arrive at his verdict? One would have expected Wanjigi to convince him beyond reasonable doubt that Kinoti was the one keeping the guns. Where is this evidence?

Besides, the judge should have sought to know how many guns the law allows a civilian to own; make and type of the firearm. If the law allows only one, how did Wanjigi acquire seven? Who issued licenses to him?

We know the tycoon is a politician and has since declared that he was in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.  Currently, he is busy campaigning. So, could it turn out he is using this case to popularize himself? This is after realizing that he stood no chance as majority of Kenyans had no time for him. Time will tell.

This is not the first time we have heard Kenyans and their leaders hitting out at some judges over their involvement in the judicial activism and at times making alarming statements. Others would be accused of corruption and taking hefty bribes to influence the outcome of some cases.

As I write this, the Judicial Service Commission [JSC] has agreed to handle petitions filed against a top judge.

Get me right. I’m not putting Mrima in the same category. However, I was taken aback when I heard him claiming that his life was in danger. It was hard to buy this.

First, he was required by the law to report and record a statement at the police station. This would pave the way for the DCI to immediately commence investigation. I never heard him saying he has done that.

Secondly, he did not reveal the names of those he claimed were baying for his blood. Thirdly, he referred to an election petition he handled after 2017 general election. Why did he have to wait this long to make these ‘revelations’?

Given this scenario, one would be forgiven for concluding. Some judges were taking advantage of high-profile cases of political nature and against the government assigned to them to rule in a way that would help them elevate their CVs. I hope Mrima is not playing the same card. 

Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a Political Analyst and Blogger Based in Nairobi

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