Kenyan Appellate Judges Sent Packing

Dictatorial tendencies, political bias and condoning torture are some of the reasons that have led to the sacking of four senior judges in the Kenya Court of Appeal, a court that was until recently, the highest court in the land. In a rather shocking move, the president of the appellate court, Justice Riaga Omollo was sent home by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board (headed by Sharad Rao)

The man with the axe, Sharad Rao (courtesy of the standard online edition)

The four judges, Justices  Emmanuel O’Kubasu, Samuel Bosire, Riaga Omollo and Joseph Nyamu (shown below) were sent packing for past judgements of previous cases in which the law was not followed to the letter, political bias was entertained among other reasons.

You’re fired! (courtesy of the daily nation)

When it rains, it pours. It is expected that similar dismissals like these will be seen in the coming days as the vetting of other judges in the high court and magistrate courts starts today. The radical surgery of the judiciary that had long been a figment of the creative minds of Kenyans now seems to have become a reality.
However, we should tread carefully, as all that glitters is definitely not gold. Remember the Goldenberg Scandal which is always resurrected during an election year? Four judges are not enough. Many more should follow, and in the end the judiciary should be shining with equality and justice before the law.

The constitution has taken a life of its own, and the winds of change and reform are sweeping across the country, blowing away colonial habits, and championing for the rights and privileges of all Kenyans irrespective of political affiliation, creed or the amount of money in the pocket. Let us hope that the center will hold in the coming months.

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