I have received comments and even read elsewhere in other Kenyan fora people saying there is nothing wrong with the Chief Justice being a guest of honor for Miguna in his book launch.
Those taking this view argue that the Chief Justice has the right to freely associate and so does Miguna, which is true but they are all missing the point.
The constitution which guarantees us all freedom to associate also prescribes State Officers from so freely associating, otherwise, we might as well accept the argument it would be proper for our Chief Officers to freely associate with prostitutes or engage in drunken stupors and so on.
The fact is, there are certain things our public officers, especially at the level of Chief Justice must not engage in as they otherwise would if they were not state officers.
The relevant part of Chapter Six states as follows with respect to State Officers of which the Chief Justice is one:
75. (1) A State officer shall behave, whether in public and official
life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner
(a) any conflict between personal interests and public or official
(b) compromising any public or official interest in favour of a
personal interest; or
(c) demeaning the office the officer holds.
Can a case be made that the CJ’s obligation to his personal friend to attend this function is in conflict with his role as Chief Justice?
Can a case be made that by attending the book launch of a personal friend and author of a book that has been touted as the mother of all punches to knock Raila out of the presidential run puts the Chief Justice in a compromised position?
Can a case be made that Dr. Willy Mutunga’s attending the book launch demeans the office of Chief Justice?
These are questions that must be asked and answered [i]objectively[/i], not with emotions and how one answers them cannot be and must not be seen from their partisan perspective for some times we all must rise above politics and see things from the perspective of what is good for our country as a whole.
A simple test to determine this is simply asking oneself is this something that brings us together as a nation or one that divides for surely there must be something we all as Kenyans must agree to see the same way otherwise we are doomed.
Politicians must ask themselves the same question ditto for State Officers but the Chief Justice, the President/PM more so than everyone else and were the Chief Justice to ask himself is what he contemplates to do something that brings us together as a nation or one that divides us, he would obviously have to agree it’s the latter and not the former which means he shouldn’t engage in such conduct for the sake of the office he holds.
Conversely, if the Chief Justice thumbs his nose on everyone asking him not to attend this event and goes ahead with it, then he has to know this will not be without consequence even if that is merely the creation of doubt in people’s minds that his judgment is wanting and that cannot be anything worth the risk.
Another way to look at this is even more simpler: If you don’t want to be part of a controversy, stay away from it.
Miguna is obviously a controversial figure and for the Chief Justice to dive in and join him in the controversy says more about the Chief Justice than it does about Miguna who has done nothing wrong to invite him to be the guest of honor in his book launch; all of us would do the same thing, but not all of us would readily accept the invitation for some of us are of the view doing so is inappropriate and contrary to Chapter Six of our constitution.