Kenya’s embattled Judge Juma Chitembwe Moves To Supreme Court To Block His Ouster
By Samuel Ouma
Suspended High Court of Kenya judge Juma Chitembwe has rushed to the Supreme Court to get an injunction stopping his removal as suggested by a tribunal.
The petition was filed by the P.W. Wena and Company Advocates on his behalf.
“Take notice that he Honourable Justice Said Juma Chitembe, being dissatisfied with the decision/findings of the Tribunal appointed to investigate into his conduct delivered to His Excellency the President on February 7, 2023 intends to appeal to the Supreme Court against the whole decision,” read part of the petition.
The retired President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended Justice Chitembwe over gross misconduct, and a 12-man tribunal led by judge Mumbi Ngugi was established to investigate accusations against him.
On February 7, 2023, the tribunal submitted its report to President William Ruto and recommended the removal of the High Court Judge.
The tribunal found him guilty of four of six misconduct claims filed against him by his employer, the Judicial Service Commission.
“The tribunal unanimously found judge Chitembwe breached the Constitution while discharging his duties,” said Justice Ngugi.
He was found guilty of gaining a proprietary interest in a land parcel in Kindono, Lamu’s coastal county, that was the subject of a succession issue pending before him.
Justice Chitembwe was found guilty of negotiating the withdrawal of a case at the Court of Appeal in Malindi on the second charge.
Third, the judge committed gross misconduct by presiding over an impeachment bench while being known and closely acquainted with former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, one of the petitioners in the case.
Fourth, Justice Chitembwe met with Mr. Sonko and provided him with legal counsel regarding the viability of an appeal against the decision upholding his impeachment and the recommended grounds for appeal.
His troubles began with videos revealed by former Mr Sonko in 2021 after he failed in a quest to reclaim the city governorship. The videos depicted the judge as part of a plot to undermine an ongoing court dispute involving land succession in Kwale County.