The events of a few hours in January 4th have spawned the first--of several, no doubt --media circuses of 2012. Taking centre stage in this “David and Goliathesque” debacle are security guard Rebecca Kerubo and Deputy Chief Justice, Nancy Baraza.
According to a police report made by Ms. Kerubo, Ms. Baraza ignored a directive by the guard to be frisked at the security desk of Village Market--the upmarket shopping mall she was visiting. Ms Baraza had allegedly just driven into the compound of the shopping complex and parked her car 50 metres from the security desk. The guard stated that she told Ms Baraza that she was to be frisked but the Deputy CJ walked away.
When the Deputy Chief Justice stepped out of the shopping complex, she reportedly went to the car before coming back to the security guard and threatened to shoot her, the report says, if she persisted in what Ms Baraza is alleged to have termed as humiliating her.
It is no secret that impunity runs amok in this country. And the citizenry have collectively torn at their hair in frustration as too often court cases with damning evidence against affluent or prominent individuals have run aground or dismissed on flimsy grounds. Justice has been delayed and justice has been denied for far too long.
In the ten or so days since the case came to the national forefront there have been fervent calls for Ms. Baraza’s resignation, allegations of Ms. Kerubo receiving incentives to drop the case—dozens of shopping bags filled with household items-- and a frustrated Ms. Kerubo stating that she’s thinking about dropping the case to lessen the drama in her life.
This case has captured the country’s imagination in this post-promulgation era. We are supposed to be living in a new Kenya, one with a constitution which champions for freedom and equality before the law. But who is right? It is hard to tell as bloggers, Facebookers, Tweeters and a media hell-bent on selling papers have muddied the waters by sensationalizing the case.
However, we all want to know the truth (what happened to that CCTV tape mentioned in the first media reports?) We also want fairness because there seems to be a venomous sting in the calls for Ms. Baraza’s resignation. We can read a little political witch-hunting in there and we are not lost to the fact that Ms. Kerubo stands to potentially gain a windfall should the case go to court and Ms. Baraza resorts to an out of court settlement.
No doubt, this is the biggest test for our judiciary system. Can this case truly be tried as one woman’s word against another? “David” versus “David”? We hope so. Earlier this week both parties appeared before a committee of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) set up to investigate the case. The eight-member committee at the Supreme Court was called by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and chaired by Rev Julius Kobia--one of the commissioners representing the public.
Let justice prevail.