Uhuru suspends senior judge

Disciplinary action.

President Uhuru Kenyatta presiding over the swearing in ceremony for Chief Justice Martha Koome at State House

President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended Lady Justice Mary Muthoni Gitumbi.

According to official communication made on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, Justice Muthoni was suspended after recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission.

She was suspened from the Environment and Land Court over mental incapacity.

President Kenyatta has also formed a tribunal to investigate the matter and write a report either recommending her removal or reinstatement.

"I, Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, do direct as follows, Hon. Lady Justice Mary Muthoni Gitumbi Judge of the Environment and Land Court be and is suspended from office with immediate effect," read the Gazette notice.

The tribunal comprises:

Justice Hellen Amolo Omondi

Justice Luka Kiprotich Kimaru

Lady Justice Linnet NdoloPeter Munge Murage

Mary Martha Nyakado Bonyo

Dr. Frank Njenga

Josiah Musili

Dr. Patrick Amoth

Dr. Margaret Othieno Makonyengo

Emmanuel Omondi Bitta

How to remove a Judge in Kenya - Constitution Article 168.

A judge of a superior court may be removed from office only on the grounds of--

(a) inability to perform the functions of office arising from mental or physical incapacity;

(b) a breach of a code of conduct prescribed for judges of the superior courts by an Act of Parliament;

(c) bankruptcy;

(d) incompetence; or

(e) gross misconduct or misbehaviour.

(2) The removal of a judge may be initiated only by the Judicial Service Commission acting on its own motion, or on the petition of any person to the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) A petition by a person to the Judicial Service Commission under clause (2) shall be in writing, setting out the alleged facts constituting the grounds for the judges removal.

(4) The Judicial Service Commission shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that the petition discloses a ground for removal under clause (1), send the petition to the President.

(5) The President shall, within fourteen days after receiving the petition, suspend the judge from office and, acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission--

(a) in the case of the Chief Justice, appoint a tribunal consisting of--

(i) the Speaker of the National Assembly, as chairperson;

(ii) three superior court judges from common-law jurisdictions;

(iii) one advocate of fifteen years standing; and

(iv) two other persons with experience in public affairs; or

(b) in the case of a judge other than the Chief Justice, appoint a tribunal consisting of--

(i) a chairperson and three other members from among persons who hold or have held office as a judge of a superior court, or who are qualified to be appointed as such but who, in either case, have not been members of the Judicial Service Commission at any time within the immediately preceding three years;

(ii) one advocate of fifteen years standing; and

(iii) two other persons with experience in public affairs.

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