11 January 2012

Kenya: Hearing On Baraza Closed to the Public

As Mr Bernard Morara Ogweche led his wife to Gigiri Police Station on January 2, he expected that the events that had disturbed her since the evening of December 31 last year would be quickly forgotten.

His wife is Rebecca Kerubo, the security guard at the Village Market Shopping Mall in Nairobi involved in the case surrounding Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, and which has drawn parallel investigations by the police and the Judicial Service Commission.

The appointment had been scheduled for 5.00pm and Mr Morara understood that deputy CJ Baraza would be present to make peace with Ms Kerubo.

Also present were various senior officers at the station privy to the matter.

Mr Morara said his wife had arrived at their home in Gachie earlier than usual on December 31 and went straight to bed.

On being asked what was wrong she said she would talk about it in the morning.

Given his account of the events since the evening of December 31, the collapse of the meeting on January 2 marked the beginning of the case that could be decided over the next few weeks.

Mr Morara says the police had initially asked the two parties to reconcile on January 1, after writing their statements, but his wife insisted that he should be present, thus the meeting the following day.

He says that when she arrived at the police station, Ms Baraza made it clear that she would prefer to have the case proceed to court rather than "waste time" with the reconciliation arranged by the police and Ms Kerubo's superiors at the mall.

The visitors

Two days later, when the details of the events at the mall were published, a woman called his wife and said she had a message from "Madam" and would like to deliver it to the family.

"The person had said they would be at our home by 9 am and we should prepare for a visit from a big person. This we did, and waited for the visitor and my wife was going nowhere," said Mr Morara.

The female visitor who declined to identify herself, was in the company of three men, and they arrived at about 11.30am in a taxi carrying paper bags of shopping.

Their conversation was interrupted when journalists walked in forcing them to leave in a hurry.

There have been two more fruitless visits by two women claiming they were leaders from Nyamira, Mr Morara's rural home, and that they could arrange for another meeting where the deputy CJ would apologise and have the matter brought to an end.

Mr Morara was the seventh witness at the closed-door hearings of the JSC at the Supreme Court building in Nairobi.

Chairman of the committee, the Rev Samuel Kobia, said they will have a complete report by end of Thursday for presentation to the JSC on Friday by 2.30 pm.

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