Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi has called for the removal of High Court Judge P J Otieno over his ruling barring Justice Philomena Mwilu from acting as Chief Justice.
In a ruling issued on Friday, Judge PJ Otieno barred Mwilu from serving as a member of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Service Commission, meaning that she cannot act as Chief Justice.
“That a conservatory order is hereby issued against the first respondent restraining her continued occupation of the offices of the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya, member of the Judicial Service Commission and Ombudsman of the Judiciary,” the ruling read in part.
According to Havi, the judge erred in his ruling and should be dealt with accordingly.
“The order made by Justice P J Otieno restraining DCJ and Ag CJ Philomena Mwilu from serving is a nullity ab initio (of no consequence). For good order though, it should be set aside, P J Otieno removed from office and the Petitioner Advocate and his Advocate disbarred,” Havi tweeted.
His point of view was shared by several other top lawyers who accused the judge of going against the Constitution. Here are some of their reactions:
Senior Counsel Ahmednasir : Judicial orders must always be respected and given full faith and credit...but the order by Justice Otieno removing the acting CJ from office is ex facie evidence of gross misconduct and a wilful premeditated act of judicial skulduggery on the part of Justice Otieno...
Kipchumba Murkomen: The ‘REVISIT’ takes a new twist as Justice PJ Otieno sitting in Meru removes from office the Ag.CJ Philomena Mwilu as a CJ and a Judge via ex parte conservatory orders… t is worse knowing that Justice PJ Otieno has a pending complain before the JSC on charges of gross misconduct.
Opondo Kaluma: A judge can't be removed from office other than as prescribed in the Constitution. Orders to vacate a judge from office can't issue without prior service and interpartes hearing. The Supreme Court now lacks quorum. The JSC lacks leadership.
Kivutha Kibwana: There are BBI court cases on signature collection and verification. Still to be heard. There are cases challenging county assemblies’ process where the constitutional bill is waiting. Awaiting hearing. Now no SC quorum. Shall Wanjiku have her day in court?
Waikwa Wanyoike: Orders against Mwilu will be in force at least until February 12th when Meru Court is set to hear all parties Supreme Crt was set to Conference on #BBI cases by @governorkibwana and Kericho & Nandi County Assemblies on Feb 9th. It can't. Without DCJ it has no quorum.