16 November 2012

Kenya: Bishops, Pastors Should Be Vetted - CJ Mutunga

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga yesterday suggested that bishops and pastors should be vetted to ensure that they pass the integrity test.

The C J was speaking outside the Supreme Court in Nairobi while admitting 63 advocates to the bar. In reference to Chapter Six of the constitution on ethics and integrity of public officers, Mutunga said the Judiciary should have the mandate to vet the clergy.

"Don't steal from people. Uphold social justice. If you are a member of the funeral committee in your village and you steal, that is wrong. The constitution should allow us to vet bishops and pastors," Mutunga said.

He advised the lawyers to uphold integrity and not be agents of the status quo. He said the new lawyers will be operating in a reformed judiciary and they should always go to court prepared.

Mutunga said the Judiciary has hired legal researchers and law clerks who will take the administration of justice to another level and that the lawyers should not just read the law but other disciplines as well.

"We drown in the ignorance of geography and other disciplines yet we call ourselves learned friends. We should study beyond law."

He said the Judiciary is going to buy mobile tents for use as mobile courts in Northern Kenya and other arid and semi arid areas which are poorly served.

Mutunga want courts that will not be intimidating. He said the Judiciary should emulate Africa ancestors who used to sit under trees and resolve conflicts.

He said advocates should not regard their oath as mere words but should internalise it and strive to abide by it in all their endeavours.

Deputy solicitor general Muthoni Kimani asked the lawyers to uphold professional confidentiality but cautioned them against taking advantage of this as they could be considered accomplices in crime.

The LSK representative Donald Kipkorir said the advocates should emulate great historical lawyers and judges. "Don't come to law to make money. Law is a calling. Making money is incidental. Benefit as an individual but let the society benefit also," he said.

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