A controversial petition filed on Thursday in a bid to kick out Chief Justice David Maraga from office will be withdrawn, the MP behind the quest has said.
The petition filed by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu will be terminated after President Uhuru Kenyatta prevailed upon him to do so.
The President, during a meeting with Central Kenya leaders at Sagana State Lodge, asked Mr Wambugu to withdraw the petition, saying Jubilee Party’s focus should be on the repeat presidential election on October 17.
Admitting that he was himself bitter with the Supreme Court ruling, the President said he did not have an issue with Justice Maraga.
“Achana na hao watu (leave those people alone). Walifanya vile walifanya na ni hao na Mungu (whatever they did, now it’s between them and God). Let us put our attention on the election,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta said while he understood the MP’s pain due to the Supreme Court’s annulment of the presidential election, in which he had been declared winner, it was time to fully focus on securing his re-election.
“I understand your pain and action. But we have an election to win on October 17. That has to be our focus. Leave the court alone,” the President said.
“All we want is for the will of the people to prevail.”
Soon after the President’s pronouncement, Mr Wambugu said he would withdraw the petition because of the current political situation.
He, however, said he stood by the issues he had raised in his 14-page petition he filed before the Judicial Service Commission accusing Justice Maraga of “gross misconduct”, claiming that, among other things, the Chief Justice had been used by some NGOs to deliver the ruling that nullified the election.
“I stand by the grievances in the Maraga petition, but due to the political environment, I will not pursue it, for now,” the MP said in his Twitter handle.
Earlier in Nairobi, Jubilee Party’s leadership in Parliament had announced their intention to reach out to the MP to withdraw the petition, which they said he had filed in his capacity.
On Thursday, a group of Nasa MPs led by Bungoma Senator Mr Moses Wetang’ula claimed that Justice Maraga’s proposed removal had the blessings of the top jubilee leadership.
But Jubilee, through its secretary-general Raphael Tuju, distanced the party from the petition, terming it a private matter prosecuted by the MP.
Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings on Friday, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, his Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen, his deputy Fatuma Dullo and Senate Majority Whip Susan Kihika said they had consulted Mr Wambugu on the possibility of withdrawing the now contentious motion, which they said was private.
“We have had a discussion with Wambugu and other Jubilee MPs with a possibility to withdraw the petition.
“We also want to categorically state that the petition is not a Jubilee affair,” Mr Duale, the Garissa Township MP, said at Parliament Buildings.
However, Mr Duale said, any Kenyan has a right to petition for removal of any State officer through constitutional processes.
Mr Murkomen said despite the petition raising “weighty constitutional issues” related to the conduct of the CJ, Jubilee was more focused on the campaigns for the President’s re-election in the repeat poll.
In Kiambu, a Mt Kenya Youth Caucus faulted Mr Wambugu over his petition.
The group’s chairman, Mr Linford Mutembei, said: “Jubilee leadership, which is seeking to solidify support from across the country cannot afford to start dividing itself by having some of its members making time barred and misinformed moves or reckless statements, which could annoy Kenyans from certain regions.”
Additional reporting by Eric Wainaina and PSCU
President tells Ngunjiri Wambugu to leave Judiciary alone.