It was an incident that roped in the current Kibwezi East member of parliament Jessica Mbalu, and it almost turned scandalous after she complained that a decision by Maraga to publicly publish her private phone conversations was going to ruin her marriage.
They say one day in politics is a long time, and now an old newspaper piece from June 2013 which has just surfaced proves this. On the 13th of June, exactly three months after Uhuru Kenyatta had swept to power following that year’s general elections, the then new president made a firm and solid decision to reach out to a Judge called David Maraga, who at the time, was a member of the appellate court. At the heart of the issue was a disciplinary case against then High Court Judge Joseph Mbalu Mutava.
The Sunday Standard newspaper of June 13th 2013 says that Uhuru has appointed Justice Maraga as chairman of a five-member tribunal that he had constituted and made public as president.
The tribunal was investigating allegations that the judge had colluded with others to allocate himself a court case file without the knowledge of the duty judge and proceeded to write a judgment for a case in which he was being investigated. There were also accusations that he sought to influence the outcome of a case.
The Maraga team later received controversial pushback from Judge Mutava’s wife who is the Kibwezi East member of parliament. She was against some aspects of their investigations.
This whole revelation from almost a decade ago is quite shocking in the context of what is currently happening. In 2013, when the president determined that a Judge had questionable character, he acted in accordance with the law and set up a tribunal which was required to investigate and later recommend his removal, or perhaps clear him.
However, right now, he has leveled serious charges against 6 Judicial officers, and has not only failed to institute the prescribed process for a hearing, but has refused to even make public the charges themselves, which he says came to him via the Intelligence Agencies.
Interestingly, one of the president’s biggest critics of his handling of the current Judicial issue is Maraga, the very same man that he appointed to head a tribunal he had formed to investigate a Judge.