Popular Nominated MP Jennifer Shamalla yesterday moved to throw a spanner in the works as regarding debate on Lawyer Fred Nga’tia who, hours earlier, had been interviewed for the Chief Justice position by the Judicial Service Commission’s vetting panel.
Jennifer Shamalla dismissed fears expressed by Ngatia’s critics who are concerned that since he has acted as a lawyer for Uhuru in the past, this might make him an unsuitable Chief Justice, citing possible bias.
Speaking yesterday on KTN News’ political show NewsNight hosted by Ben Kitili, Jennifer Shamalla reminded the rest that even former Chief Justice David Maraga, who is now hailed as a model Chief Justice by many, had his own unsavory past.
Referring to a ruling Maraga made when he was still a High Court judge in Nakuru, Shamalla said it should be remembered that Maraga freed four suspects who were accused of burning the Kiambaa Church during the 2007-08 post-election violence.
Thousands of civilians, including women and children, died when marauding militias set fire to the Kenya Assemblies of God church in the northern city of Eldoret, where they were sheltering from the clashes. The deaths took place on 1 January, 2008, and four suspects were charged two months later but Justice David Maraga said he had to drop the case, citing lack of evidence and shoddy police investigations.
Back in 2016, when appearing before MPs for vetting, then Chief Justice nominee David Maraga struggled to explain himself against allegations he failed to serve justice in the famous judgement.
When he appeared before MPs for vetting, Justice Maraga was pressed to explain his decision not to convict anyone during the attack on Kiambaa church at the height of the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Under intense questioning by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by then Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga, the judge stood his ground.
Committee vice-person Priscilla Nyokabi (Nyeri County MP) raised the matter of Kiambaa Church arson case and demanded to know why the suspects were acquitted.
Justice Maraga said: “I handled the… Kiambaa at the… time. Our judgement is not based on emotions but on evidence and the law. I also lamented over poor investigations. There was no evidence to sustain a conviction.”