Activist wants JSC to fire judge for declining to block Anne Kananu vetting

By Sheila Mutua On Fri, 15 Jan, 2021 14:19 | 2 mins read
Anne Kananu Mwenda
Nairobi Deputy Governor Anne Kananu Mwenda during her vetting by MCAs on January 15, 2021.

Activist Henry Shitanda has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission for the removal of Justice Antony Charo Mrima over the Anne Kananu Mwenda case.

The new Nairobi deputy governor was quickly vetted, approved and sworn-in on Friday in a record time of under five hours after Justice Anthony Mrima of High Court cleared her path to the top of City Hall by dismissing petitions seeking to block MCAs from vetting her.

In his letter to the JSC written shortly after Justice Mrima refused to block Nairobi County Assembly members from vetting and approving Kananu for the City Hall job on Friday morning, Shitanda accused the High Court judge of bias.

Justice Mrima declined to issue the conservatory orders stopping Anne Kananu’s vetting pending the hearing and determination of the petitions against her nomination.

“The learned judge declined to issue conservatory orders without any judicial basis which demonstrates interference by the state machinery,” Shitanda claimed in his letter.

The activist accused the judge of ignoring the public interest when he cleared the path for Kananu to be vetted by MCAs.

“Whilst this is a high-octane public interest, it is instructive that the public interest in this matter is extreme it demonstrates that the judge was clearly biased in declining issuance of the conservatory orders and the judge went against all the principles of law regarding issuance of conservatory orders, and to this end, I request that you peruse the aforementioned court files and you will clearly reach the irresistible conclusion of my observation herein,” claimed Shitanda.

Activists Okiyah Omatatah and Habil Kongo had petitioned the High Court, challenging the entire process of Kananu’s nomination by former governor, Mike Sonko, who at the time of picking her, had been barred by the Anti-Corruption Court from running City Hall affairs.

But in his ruling on Friday morning, January 15, Justice Mrima said that the petitioners failed to convince the court that any prejudice would be suffered if the conservatory orders were not granted.

In any case, there was no proof, the judge ruled, that the MCAs would approve Kananu if they vetted her.

“They (Omtatah and Kongo) will not be prejudiced or their cases will not be compromised if the orders they are seeking to block the vetting are not issues.”

Stopping the constitutional process mediates against the public interest, the court said.

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