Editor's Review

Raila accused the president of usurping the powers of Parliament in naming the commission.

President William Ruto has moved to tame ODM leader Raila Odinga's move to sue him for appointing a commission of inquiry into the Shakahola massacre.

The inquiry team was appointed to investigate the deaths, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of members and individuals associated with the Good News International Church in Malindi, Kilifi County, led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie.

This follows the swearing-in of the tribunal on Tuesday, the very day Raila Odinga filed a case blocking the appointment.

High Court Principal Judge Eric Ogola presided over the swearing-in on behalf of Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The commission of the inquiry team is led by Court of Appeal Judge Jessie Lesiit.

Shakahola Forest graves where bodies were exhumed. PHOTO | FILE

Other members of the commission include Lady Justice Mary Kasango, Eric Gumbo, Bishop Catherine Mutua, Jonathan Lodompui, Frank Njenga, Wanyama Musiambu and Albert Musasia.

Oliver Karori and Rachel Maina are the commission's joint secretaries. Lawyer Kioko Kilukumi is its lead counsel, assisted by Vivian Nyambeki and Bahati Mwamuye. 

Through his Lawyer Paul Mwangi, the ODM leader accused the president of usurping the powers of Parliament in naming the commission.

“We reiterate that only the Judicial Service Commission is empowered by the constitution to recruit qualified persons to serve in tribunals," court papers seen by Nairobi Leo read in part.

"The president has no powers to make any determination of the constitution of a court or an independent tribunal nor who sits in judgment in court or independent tribunal.”

Raila at the same time faulted the president for naming Justice Jessie Lessit the chair of the commission alleging that the appointment lacked the blessing of the judiciary. 

"The Head of State contradicted the Constitution and contributed towards tilting the impartiality of judicial officers who may be enticed by the appointments and thereby give favourable rulings on cases targeting the executive," Raila argued.