What you need to know:
- Stories of fake police officers and magistrates, while really entertaining, taint the image of Kenya’s criminal justice system.
- Then there is the very ugly drama playing out publicly, about a judge caught up in the turf wars between the DCI and the DPP.
It is a shame our filmmakers do not seem to have the capacity or creativity to make award-winning movies from captivating crime stories that appear in local newspapers and TV every so often.
The “Wicked Genius of Waiganjo”, the daring civilian from Njoro who for many years reportedly carried himself around as a senior police commander, has been waiting to be taken to the screen.
“The Adventures of the Artur Brothers”, the Armenian mercenaries who commanded a raid on the Standard and KTN at night and slapped their way through Kenya’s major airport, would be a potential chartbuster.
Last week, the draft script of the “Barstool Magistrate” of Nakuru emerged. This is about the exploits of a man named Ng’eno, who was arrested and charged for reportedly conning people of money while posing as a magistrate.
Stories of fake police officers and magistrates, while really entertaining, taint the image of Kenya’s criminal justice system and dampen public confidence in its institutions.
Yet even much greater damage to the reputation of institutions like the Judiciary is done by real judges and magistrates.
Low integrity standards
I have watched a disturbing tape where a relative of a judge narrates how he pushes bribes on behalf of the judge to influence court cases.
Then there is the very ugly drama playing out publicly, about a judge caught up in the turf wars between the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The DCI seeks to implicate the judge in the murder of Toby Cohen, the tycoon whose body was found in a septic tank.
The DPP maintains that there is no sufficient evidence to prosecute the judge. Of course, everyone mentioned in the Cohen case, including the judge, deserves fair treatment by the DCI and the DPP.
But perhaps it is only in Kenya where a judge can find himself at the centre of such controversy and still keep his job.
This case also demonstrates how low the integrity standards have fallen in the Judiciary from the bar set in the early years of the present Constitution.
Dignity of the Judiciary
The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board in 2012 found 11 judges and 14 magistrates unsuitable for office and recommended their dismissal.
The reasons cited by the board in some instances paled in comparison to the allegations being made against some of the sitting judges.
One judge found himself on the firing line simply because of his temperament!
In 2012, Nancy Baraza was forced to resign as Deputy Chief Justice for pinching a guard’s nose and threatening her with a gun.
In the wake of the recent arrest of two judges in their chambers, Chief Justice Martha Koome has advocated a more decent handling of such cases to preserve the dignity of the Judiciary.
It is difficult to see why.
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