Kenyan judge faces punishment over threat
Nairobi – Kenya’s top judge called on Friday for his deputy to be suspended while she is investigated for threatening a shopping mall security guard with a pistol.
The case is seen as a test of whether Chief Justice Willy Mutunga can restore confidence in the judiciary of the east African country, where the powerful have all too often seen themselves as being above the law.
Mutunga told reporters he would ask President Mwai Kibaki to suspend his deputy, Nancy Baraza, and set up a tribunal to investigate her for misconduct.
Mutunga said the decision followed lengthy deliberation and the examination of witness accounts.
Security guard Rebecca Morara said Baraza had refused to be screened at the entrance to Nairobi’s upmarket Village Market shopping mall on New Year’s Eve.
The guard said Baraza pinched her nose and threatened her with a pistol.
When the accusations first surfaced, Baraza said she had received threats since her appointment in June and had been concerned for her safety. She has made no further statement.
When setting up the initial committee to investigate the incident, Mutunga emphasised that nobody was above the law.
Security has been tightened at shopping malls and other public spots after threats by Somalia’s al-Shabaab militants to attack Kenya for sending troops across the border.
Kenya accuses the rebels of cross-border attacks and kidnappings.
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