Human Rights Activist Okiya Omtatah has moved to court seeking to have Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu barred from being appointed as the replacement for Chief Justice (CJ) David Maraga after he retires in January 2021.

In his petition, Omtatah argues that Mwili is not fit to hold the office, adding that the Judicial Service Commission should be barred from appointing her as acting CJ until she is cleared of all corruption allegations against her.

According to Omtatah, he petition is crucial as the CJ is set to retire next month, meaning the DCJ is highly likely to be appointed as the acting head of Judiciary and President of the Supreme Court.

“Pending the inter-parties hearing and determination of this case, the court be pleased to issue a temporary order prohibiting JSC from appointing DCJ Mwilu to act in the office of the Chief Justice unless and until the JSC clears her of the allegations of corruption and abuse of office contained in the pending four petitions seeking her removal.

 “For example, the DPP and the DCI claim in their petition that Justice Mwilu is unfit for public office as she was involved in the irregular sale and acquisition of property including obtaining the execution of a security by false pretence,” Omtatah’s petition read in part.

The race to succeed Maraga is slowly heating up as several top judges are believed to be eyeing the lucrative position.

During Maraga’s tenure, the Judiciary was involved in a cold war with the executive leading to the slashing of its budget allocation.

Many believe that the war began after the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s win in 2017.