Yesterday’s seismic late-night ruling by the five-member Judges bench led by Judge Joel Ngugi has not only turned things upside down, but also caused a disruption, ironically, in the Judiciary itself, in terms of the pecking order.
Over the next couple of days, and weeks, all eyes will be intently and keenly kept on Judge Wanjiku Karanja. Hitherto a fairly obscure judge, by and large unknown outside judicial circles, now a humongous burden has been thrust upon her. The ultimate fate of the Building Bridges Initiative, and by extension, the fate of the country, lies with her.
For a while now, it has been noted, and quite accurately so, that the power dynamics of the Judiciary have fallen, firmly and squarely, in the laps of women. The Chief Justice apparent is a woman courtesy of Judge Martha Koome. Her deputy, Philomena Mwilu, is also another woman. The registrar of the Judiciary, and who also seats in the Judicial Service Commission by virtue of this post, is also another woman named Anne Amadi.
With the departure of William Ouko to the Supreme Court following his nomination by the JSC, he has ceased to continue operating as the president of the Court of Appeal.
The fort is now held by Judge Wanjiru Karanja.
If the case against the BBI that was ruled yesterday proceeds to the Court of Appeal as it is widely expected to, then Judge Wanjiru Karanja will be required to form a bench that will be tasked with hearing the appeal case.
Her choice of Judges will be considered almost as important, if not as equally important, as the decision that the Judges will make. It is expected that Judge Wanjiru will constitute a panel which inspires public confidence and favour by projecting an image of objectivity and balance.