14 August 2012

Kenya: Clinton, Chief Justice Meeting Stirs Controversy

More than a week after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed in the country, the storm raised by her visit is yet to die out.

A city lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui has petitioned the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to reveal what he and Clinton discussed behind closed doors during their meeting.

Meanwhile, two presidential hopefuls on Saturday night held a late-night meeting at Safari Park hotel to strategise on a response on Mutunga's meeting with Clinton. The campaigns of both aspirants did not return our calls to confirm the agenda and details of the meeting.

In his petition, Kinyanjui wants the CJ to disclose whether they discussed the cases challenging the eligibility of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North William Ruto to contest in the coming General Election.

Uhuru, Ruto, former head of public service Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua Sang are set to go on trial at the ICC over the 2007/08 post-election violence. "Did the the US Secretary of State discuss with you during that meeting on August 4, 2012 Kenya's cases currently pending adjudication at the ICC, the Kenyan role in the said proceedings, or the suspects now facing trial under the Rome Statute, and if so, what were the details thereof?" the lawyer wrote to the CJ on August 9, among a number of questions.

Kinyanjui says failure by Mutunga, who is also the President of the Supreme Court to disclose the discussions would injure his rights of access to information and fair trial. He also wants to know why foreign minister Prof Sam Ongeri was not allowed into the meeting. Stopping Ongeri from participating in the meeting, Kinyanjui argues, was against protocol given that Clinton represents a foreign government. Mutunga has denied that the deliberations touched on the conduct or direction of the Kenyan judicial proceedings.

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