Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki is emerging the frontrunner in the race to replace Chief Justice David Maraga who is set to retire anytime from now, we can authoritatively report. For now, if Maraga decides to proceed on leave, deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu will act. Mwilu is being favoured by a section in ODM to succeed Maraga by virtue of her closeness to former AG Amos Wako and now Busia senator on ODM ticket.
Kariuki, formerly the president of the Court of Appeal, is being considered a safe bet by State House mandarins eager to have a reliable gatekeeper at the corridors of justice. Supreme Court judge Smokin Wanjala is the favourite by the majority of lawyers according to a secret report compiled by various state agencies and if voting by lawyers was to determine the next CJ, Wanjala will definitely win. However, he is seen as independent-minded like Maraga. Other names that are being touted include East African Community judge Charles Nyachae, former national assembly speaker Kenneth Marende, Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndung’u, Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu of Appeals Court and Solicitor General Ken Ogeto, and Justice Isaac Lenaola mong others. But according to sources, the State House mandarins do not want a repeat of the 2017 scenario where Maraga led the bench in nullifying the presidential election and that is why they want a reliable candidate for the CJ’s position, and that person is Kariuki.
Besides, the AG is a relative of Uhuru Kenyatta as his mother is the daughter of Senior Chief Koinange. Kariuki, who was born on May 11 1954 in Kiambu, is the son of the late bishop of Anglican Church Obadiah Kariuki and Lillian Wairimu, the daughter of Senior Chief Koinange. It is to be recalled that Uhuru’s father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta married his third wife, Grace Wanjiku, daughter of Senior Chief Koinange and sister of Mbiyu Koinange in 1946. But Wanjiku died when giving birth in 1951 to their daughter, Jane Makena Wambui (also known as Jeni). Jeni Makena Gecaga is the mother of Soiya Gecaga, Nana Gecaga, and Jomo Gecaga, who serves as the president’s private secretary. Insiders added that State House is keen to have the holder of the CJ’s position a person they can trust since he or she will be instrumental in the re-composition of the Supreme Court bench which will determine any petition challenging a presidential election in 2022. Already, Justice Jackton Ojwang has retired as Supreme Court judge after attaining the mandatory retirement age while Justice Isaac Lenaola is being fronted to head the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Apart from blood ties with the first family, Kariuki is also emerging the favourite due to his past rulings as a judge which have tended to side with the executive. As the president of the Court of Appeal, he led the bench in overturning a ruling by High Court judge George Odunga that had declared the appointment of returning officers for the 2017 general election as not procedural, a day to the repeat presidential poll. Justice Odunga had declared the appointments unconstitutional but had declined to grant the reliefs the petitioners were seeking, which included halting the polls. Nevertheless, Odunga’s ruling, if not overturned, would have come in handy in the petition seeking to declare the repeat presidential poll a nullity. It was this ruling that saw former Law Society of Kenya chief executive officer Apollo Mboya seek to block Kariuki after Uhuru tapped him to be his chief legal advisor. Mboya filed a misconduct case at the Judicial Service Commission where he averred that Justice Kariuki was unfit to take over from Githu Muigai as Attorney General.
The JSC formed a special committee to look into the misconduct and insubordination allegations against Kariuki and his fellow Court of Appeal judges, Erastus Githinji, Martha Koome and Fatuma Sichale who had overturned Justice Odunga’s ruling. The petition questioned how Justice Kariuki was able to impanel a three-judge bench of justices Githinji, Koome and Sichale on a public holiday and without the authorization from the Chief Justice. He also questioned the manner the appeal was expedited and final ex parte orders given within minutes. But Kariuki passed the vetting and became a member of the JSC by virtue of his position as Attorney General. Having resigned as a judge, the JSC was not in a position to pursue the matter of his misconduct further. If Kariuki lands the slot, to hoodwink Kenyans that he is not playing tribal card in Judiciary, a face outside Kikuyu will replace him as AG. It is here that Nyachae, son of a long-serving cabinet minister, Simeon Nyachae and Marende fit the bill as Attorney General.
As we reported earlier, Maraga is set to leave the Judiciary after securing a top United Nations job starting early next year. The UN picked Maraga for the top job from a pool of other candidates due to his sterling performance where he is on record as the first top judge in Africa to nullify a presidential election. Recently, Malawi top court borrowed from Maraga and nullified the presidential poll. The repeat poll was won by the opposition candidate, Lazarus Chakwera. For Justice Kariuki, the appointment as Chief Justice will be another mark in his illustrious legal career after the president picked him as Attorney General in February 2018 following the resignation of Githu. Kariuki was one of the judges appointed by President Mwai Kibaki. On appointment, he became the duty judge at the High Court, replacing Justice Lenaola who had been appointed a member of the tribunal to investigate judges who chose to contest their removal from the bench. Kariuki headed the Judicial Training Institute before being appointed as a Court of Appeal Judge and later appointed as president of the Court. Insiders intimated to us that Ogeto will continue serving as Solicitor General while Okwengu is likely to be elevated to a Supreme Court judge during the recomposition of the bench. For now, the age factor will play a key role in CJ appointment and those in mid-sixties stand a high chance.
The curse that is Kisii county politics ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
The confusion caused by a curse attributed to late cabinet minister James Nyamweya may have returned to haunt the Nyaribari clan because their divisions over the candidate to succeed James Ongwae for the Kisii county gubernatorial seat come the 2022 general election are growing. During the last general election, Simeon Nyachae’s son Charles Nyachae was shortchanged by former Kisii senator Chris Obure to drop his ambitions for the gubernatorial seat in his favour, but they lost terribly to James Ongwae from the Abagetutu clan.
The governor who was defending his seat on the ODM party ticket lost all the nine parliamentary seats but managed to bring on board his deputy Joash Maangi, Senator Sam Ongeri and women representative Janet Ong’era and a few members of the county assembly. Due to the political confusion from the late Nyamweya’s curse, three clans from the region – the Kamba Nane, Botondo and Bosigisa, have regrouped to break their silence over the vow by the dead Nyamweya that the region cannot rule for 40 years. The aggrieved clans have a total registration of 90,000 voters against their Boguche counterparts who have less than 30,000 registered voters but the curse with which they have been living for the last 40 years has been their major undoing. The late Nyamweya was trounced by Andrew Omanga as the larger Nyaribari MP and to date, even his own prodigal son, George Nyamweya, has been trying the area parliamentary and senate seat to no success.
Political schemers from the region were taken aback recently when Charles joined sacked Kenya Ports Authority chief executive officer Daniel Manduku, where he asked the gathering to support him because “he will be coming back for more consultations”. Local leaders were left mesmerized over his move to support Manduku, who is not associated at all with the former area MP, the late Hezron Manduku, because he was born, and brought up in Njoro, Nakuru county but resides in Nyaribari Masaba. After Nyamweya, the Nyaribari clan was to be divided into Nyaribari Masaba and Nyaribari Chache where Ongeri went on to exchange the Nyaribari Masaba parliamentary seat with the late Manduku for 20 years after Omanga had reigned for 15 years. Then voters turned the baton to Elijah Moindi who led for four and half years, thus the expiry of the 40 years where former provincial administrator Ezekiel Machogu worked against all odds to emerge victor during the last general election from the little known National Alliance Party of Kenya.
With the next general election fast approaching, candidates interested in the coveted seat have been pulling up their sleeves with Machogu, the first time Nyaribari Masaba MP, and his neighbour from the Boguche clan Ongeri making efforts to crisscross the expansive county to woo voters to their side But the other three clans want the duo to swallow their pride and support them because they have been benefiting from the previous regimes with the current one rewarding them with two senators, Ongeri and nominated senator Millicent Omanga and two members of the national assembly, Ezekiel Machogu – Nyaribari Masaba and Richard Tong’i- Nyaribari Chache and a number of MCAs to the Kisii county assembly. As things stand, the only candidate from the three clans who has declared interest is Rachael Otundo who has been attending funerals, churches and other social places seeking support from the electorates. Other candidates eyeing the coveted seat include Maangi from Bomachoge clan who has support across the county, Richard Onyonka (Bogetutu clan), Manson Oyongo (Bogirango clan), Chris Obure, Janet Ong’era, Simba Arati and Lumumba Nyaberi from the Bobasi clan.
Ongwae is yet to declare his choice of a candidate since they are presently at loggerheads with his deputy with whom they were elected on an ODM ticket but is supporting William Ruto’s wing of the ruling Jubilee coalition. It is interesting to note that Nyamweya’s curse worked out in Nyaribari Masaba where he broke his political campaign pot at Ibacho and Kiamokama playing grounds unlike in Nyaribari Chache which is near Kisii town. Senior Nyachae who was a provincial administrator, just like Machogu, came in with money bags, and managed to win voters for 15 years before he was trounced by little known Robert Monda, who later lost, and returned the leadership mantle to the current MP Richard Tong’i, of the Boguche clan that is serving his second term. Boguche clan have a common understanding where they present as many candidates as possible, to the electorate, but they make a resolution at the eleventh hour as a political strategy to beat the other clans, With time, it will be a matter of political calculations as to who between Machogu and Ongeri will be on the ballot for the gubernatorial race to face the other clans given that money and political influence will enable them to win, or lose in the battle, which is attracting candidates as year continue turning into months and weeks.
Disgraced TV anchor to battle for Murang’a woman rep 2022 – Weekly Citizen
The hint by former Citizen TV news anchor Jacque Maribe that she will join the murky waters of politics by gunning for the Murang’a woman representative’s seat has excited the constituents as the battle will now pit two media personalities with controversial lifestyles.Maribe will battle it out with current holder Sabina Chege, a former Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Kikuyu vernacular station presenter, Coro FM.
Though Sabina had hinted that she would go for the gubernatorial seat after current holder, Mwangi wa Iria’s second and final term comes to an end, her allies revealed that she has dropped her interest on the decorated seat, opting to defend her current seat.Sabina has reportedly teamed up with Murang’a senator Irungu Kangata who is preparing to go for the gubernatorial seat.Another factor that will make the race exciting is that while Sabina is allied to Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kieleweke camp, Maribe is likely to cast her lot with deputy president William Ruto’s camp.Maribe’s close relation with Ruto is evidenced by the fact that her lawyer in the murder charge that she is facing is Katwa Kigen, a close ally of the deputy president.
Kigen represented radio journalist Joshua Sang at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, where he was charged with crimes against humanity alongside Ruto.Another pointer she will be in DP’s camp is the fact that one of her closest friends, some say boyfriend, is Dennis Itumbi, Ruto’s chief blogger.Itumbi formerly worked at State House heading the digital department but was shown the door together with four others members of the Presidential Strategic Communication Department.Maribe broke the news of her decision to enter politics through her Instagram Live in an interview with Dj Mista Dru.She declared she will enter the ring following pressure from Murang’a residents though she is facing charges in court.But it is her controversial lifestyle that will put her on the spotlight once she formally enters the race.A mother of two from different fathers, she was in December 2018 forced to quit her job at the Royal Media Services after she visited Itumbi at a police station.
She had lied to her employer that she was not feeling well only to be photographed with Itumbi at a police station, prompting the Royal Media Service management to demand she “show-cause why” she should not be fired.
Maribe hit headlines for the wrong reasons when she was held for months in police custody after the murder of Monica Kimani, a South Sudan-based businesswoman.Monica was allegedly murdered by Maribe’s fiancé, Joseph Irungu alias Jowie. They have, however, denied the charges and are currently out on bail.They were charged with the brutal murder of Monica on the night of September 3 2018 at her Lamuria Gardens Apartment, Kilimani in Nairobi.Last year, Maribe signaled her intention to go for a political seat when she threw a birthday party to which she invited women from her home county who pledged their support should she decide to run for an elective position.For Sabina, she was initially in DP’s TangaTanga brigade but shifted base after state agencies started a crackdown on its members.
She is now in Kieleweke brigade aligned to Uhuru Kenyatta supporters in the divided Jubilee party, where she has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the deputy president.This comes as the race to succeed Wa Iria narrows down to a contest of bigwigs in the region’s politics.Among those touted to go for the seat include Kang’ata who doubles up as senate chief whip and Water principal secretary Irungu Wairagu.Others said to be interested in the seat include former Devolution PS Irungu Nyakera, former senator Kembi Gitura, businessman Julius Kaberere, Raymond Matiba and former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau.But it is the looming entry of Kang’ata that is causing ripples in the county due to his ties with Uhuru.The soft-spoken 39-year-old city lawyer made history in 2002 when he was elected vice-chairman of the University of Nairobi Students Organisation during his first year.He was 19 years old and since then, no first year student has held the post.Kang’ata, who served Kiharu as MP between 2013 and 2017, was 2002 election elected Murang’a Town ward councillor.
He came to national limelight when he represented Rebecca Kerubo, a guard at a chemist in Gigiri in the case against then Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza.He is now the one tasked with de-whipping Ruto’s allies in the senate as well as cutting to size rebels in Mount Kenya region, a task that will see him bag the Jubilee ticket for the governor’s seat.
Before Kangata’s elevation to senate chief whip, the Water PS, Wairagu was the talk of the county after he was caught up in a fierce political war with Wa Iria fueled by his 2022 ambition.The PS had upped his forays in his home region to launch national government development projects, a move that has irked the governor, who interpreted the moves as premature campaigns.Also eyeing the seat is Gitura, who unsuccessfully defended his senatorial seat and lost to Kangata.But pundits aver that Kembi’s popularity has declined in the county considered a hotbed of vibrant politics and his estranged former wife, Felistus.Kaberere campaigned for Murang’a gubernatorial seat in 2013 but dropped out of the race to focus on 2022 polls.Kaberere vied under Alliance Party of Kenya.
Another name that is featuring is that of Nyakera.Nyakera, who claims that his excellence in service delivery made Uhuru to sack him, is now the Democratic Party deputy party leader.He was among youngest PSs in Uhuru’s regime, having served under former president Mwai Kibaki as Transport PS.The Stanford University graduate was recently quoted saying his focus on service delivery, and detachment to politics, also contributed to his being shoved out of government.Former Kigumo MP Kamau is also said to be interested in the seat.Kamau lost to Wa iria during the Jubilee primaries where he garnered 118,274 votes against Wa Iria’s 205,976.Raymond is also said to be interested in the seat but is yet to make up his mind. The younger Matiba has a massive following.
Talk Kalonzo too broke to fund presidential race – Weekly Citizen
With two Ukambani governors serving their second and final terms in office expressing their intention to vie for presidency in 2022, the region’s politics where Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has been dictating the direction for decades is now taking a new dimension.The decision by the two to run is upon revelation, Kalonzo is allegedly not in position to mount a presidential campaign hence his decision to join Jubilee coalition for political survival.
Kalonzo is depending on tycoon Peter Muthoka to fund his activities after falling out with former Machakos senator Johnson Muthama.To many, the declaration by Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana and his Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua to gun for presidency in 2022 in a move meant to challenge Kalonzo’s dominance of the region’s politics is purely on Kalonzo’s financial situation linked to millions used to treat his wife.Besides, the two governors are the Wiper party leader’s worst critics, having parted ways with him at different stages in their political careers.The latest to disagree with Kalonzo is Kibwana who was even stripped his chairmanship of the party months after he folded his Muungano Party to merge with Wiper.The governor was dropped as Wiper chairman mid last year and replaced by aged Chirau Mwakwere during a retreat of the party’s national executive council held at the Kenya School of Law in Karen, Nairobi. Anne Kanyi was elected vice chairperson.
For the Machakos governor, he differed with Kalonzo during his first term as governor, going ahead to found the Maendeleo Chap Chap party, in which he successfully defended his seat in the 2017 general election.Besides, Maendeleo Chap Chap bagged a number of elective seats in the region, thereby diminishing Kalonzo’s foothold of the region.Since falling out with Kalonzo, Mutua has been escalating his political onslaught against him, going to an extent of demanding the Wiper leader quits politics for the sake of economic growth in Ukambani.The governor has heaped blame on the former vice president for the region’s economic neglect, arguing that as the political kingpin, Kalonzo failed to use his influence during the tenures of retired presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki, when he served as minister and later vice president, to push for implementation of development projects.The Maendeleo Chap Chap boss has been making the remarks on the backdrop of a growing rebellion by Ukambani governors calculated at upstaging Kalonzo from the national negotiating table on behalf of the Kamba community on the strength the former vice president only seeks personal favours from the respective governments.
The three governors, Mutua, Kibwana and Kitui’s Charity Ngilu have repeatedly told Kalonzo to retire for fresh leadership to take up the region leadership mantle.And now unlike the past four general elections – 2002, 2007, 2013 and 2017 – where Kalonzo shepherded the community to rally behind Kibaki, himself and ODM leader Raila Odinga where he was his running mate in the latter two, this time round Kibwana and Mutua have vowed to go all the way to the presidential ballot in 2022, a move that will divide the community with over 2 million votes.Apart from Kalonzo, who contested the presidency in 2007, and came third after Kibaki and Raila, the other person from the community to have made a stab at the presidency is Ngilu.Ngilu, unsuccessfully vied for the presidency in the 1997 general election on a Social Democratic Party of Kenya ticket, finishing fifth behind the eventual winner, Daniel arap Moi, Kibaki of DP, Raila of NDP and Wamalwa Kijana of Ford-K.This time round, Ngilu is preparing to defend her seat but her dream of serving a second term is being fought by Kalonzo.
For Kalonzo, he has kept the voters guessing on whether he will make another stab at the presidency.The former vice president recently signed a cooperation pact with the ruling Jubilee party, formalizing the two parties’ partnership.The deal between the two parties was penned at Jubilee Party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi, after which leaders drawn from the two parties held a joint press conference.In attendance were Kalonzo, Makueni senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, Mwakwere and Judith Sijeny.From the Jubilee side were secretary-general Raphael Tuju and vice-chairman David Murathe.Kalonzo, who was the running mate of Raila in the 2013 and 2017 general elections, did not reveal much the contents of the agreement between the two entities only hinting at possible sharing of slots in the parliamentary committees.He also rubbished rumours he was preparing to join the government as a new cabinet secretary, saying that he is in the Wiper steering wheel to stay.But as Wiper penned the deal with Jubilee, the party’s one time financier, Muthama was preparing to ditch it to support William Ruto’s 2022 bid.Days later Muthama declared he had ceased being a Wiper member, stating he left it when he withdrew out of the Machakos senatorial race in 2017.
But now the spotlight is on Kibwana who has officially announced he will be in the presidential ballot in the 2022 election.Further, the governor mended political fences with Muthama, and both expressed their intent to dislodge Kalonzo from the community’s leadership.For Mutua, he recently announced he would officially launch his campaigns to succeed Uhuru in 2022.For now, there are reports Kalonzo is lkkely to team up with Baringo senator Gideon Moi and possibly Raila, if Uhuru’s script on his succession is accepted by all of them.In that scenario, the Wiper leader will be rewarded with either the national assembly or senate speaker’s post although this might not be practicable given his age and in a time when the coronavirus is phasing out the elderly from crowded places such as inside parliament. But the big question is whether the Kamba community will accept such a line-up, given that their son has played second fiddle twice to Raila.
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