High Court judge Said Chitembwe was dealt a blow on Thursday, December 9, after a court declined to bar the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from hearing petitions filed seeking his removal from office.
Chitembwe will be required to appear before JSC on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, following a ruling by Justice Hedwig Ong’undi.
The High Court found that the consequence of such an order would be tantamount to stopping JSC from carrying out its lawful mandate without hearing the respondents who want Chitembwe out of office.
The presiding judge further stated that the application was based on an allegation that the petitioner was not given sufficient time to respond adding that the JSC is able to deal with that.
Justice Hedwig Ong’undi during a previous court ruling (undated).
“I have therefore not been shown any violation of the law to make this court grant the prayers sought by the petitioner at this point,” Justice Ong’undi stated.
The besieged judge’s lawyers argued that the JSC listed four petitions before it for December 14, without receiving any response from their client.
“The petitioner has a fundamental right to be heard and my lady, that right to be heard include the petitioner filing a response to the petitions which are pending JSC and also includes the petitioner participating in those proceedings without being ambushed,” the judge’s lawyers stated.
They further argued that he was not given sufficient time by the JSC to compile witnesses and also prepare his defence.
“He has four days to adequately prepare for the hearing. Further, the petitioner is a High Court judge and currently based in North-Eastern and some of the issues are based on High Court proceedings that he handled while in Malindi,” the lawyers added.
But their arguments were dismissed by the Lady Justice. Chitembwe took action against former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko regarding the leaked video and audio recordings.
In his application filed in court on Wednesday, December 8, the former Chief Justice candidate told the court that the videos and audio recordings shared by the former governor on his official social media platforms were illegal as they were done without his knowledge and consent.
He further argued that the dates the videos and audios were recorded illegally and could not be verified. Chitembwe also challenged the purported recorded video conversation between Amana Saidi Jirani and an unidentified person on an unknown date.
High court judge Said Chitembwe appears for the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews on April 12 2021.