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Catholics wary over Mutunga- A Kenyan Chief Justice elect

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by Rutashubanyuma, May 25, 2011.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    May 25, 2011
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    Catholics wary over Mutunga

    Updated 41 min(s) ago
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    By Moses Njagih
    The Catholic Church has urged Parliament to interrogate the moral values and family principles of two judicial nominees before approving them.
    The Church came short of rejecting the nomination of Dr Willy Mutunga and Ms Nancy Barasa for the positions of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively, over questions raised about their controversial moral standing.
    Although the Church¬ís mouthpiece, the Kenya[​IMG] Episcopal Conference (KEC) headed by John Cardinal Njue would not state whether or not they were in support of the two nominees, their insistence that Parliament first scrutinises their principles besides only heaping praise on their academic excellence and reform credentials betrayed their position.
    "The excessive emphasis on academic excellence and radical reformism is not sufficient. Justice fundamentally involves moral order," said the Church in a statement signed by all the bishops and read by Cardinal Njue.
    Moral principles
    Njue, who was accompanied by Archbishops Peter Kairu of Nyeri and Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu, together with Bishop Cornelius Korir of Eldoret, said the Church was concerned about the moral principles of the two.
    The clerics faulted the JSC panel, saying it failed to sufficiently interrogate the moral character of the candidates as enshrined in Article 166 of the Constitution[​IMG].
    "We also need people who despite having the philosophy that reflects natural law, have the Kenyan religious and African cultural values, including our universal respect for life, our recognition of the importance of family wellbeing and our appreciation of the role of religion in public and private life," said Njue.
    They said given that the holders of the two positions will enjoy and security of tenure once appointed, it was important that those given the positions satisfy all constitutional criteria, including "high moral character, integrity and impartiality".
    "Who the future officers shall be will also determine the trust and collaboration they will enjoy in order to effectively bring about positive reforms desired by Kenyans in the Judiciary," they said.
    But while Cardinal Njue appeared to reserve his view, Bishop Korir was more categorical insisting that the opinion of the nominees gives the impression of people who do not uphold family values.
    "When it comes to the issue of family, do they uphold the values? Their opinions do not uphold family values," said the Eldoret Bishop.
    Archbishop Okoth questioned Mutunga’s donning of a stud.
    "For long, even in the African society men have put on earrings[​IMG], but it is important to know what does his (Mutunga) signify; what is it for?"he said.
    The Church also faulted the decision by the JSC to forward to President Kibaki one nominee for each of the positions.
    "By presenting single individuals to the two principals, JSC abrogated the power of the Executive," they said.