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The East African : Oct 17th 2015
The EastAfrican NEWS OCTOBER 17-23,2015 T H E B IG IN T E RV I EW shades of grey on both sides What is the one achievement you are most proud of that you accomplished before you became CJ? It is definitely political. Chairing the National Alliance for Change in 2002, an alliance of opposition political parties and secular civil society groups, is one achievement I am proud of. Kenyans will recall that NAC gave birth to the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAPK). NAPK’s principals were Mwai Kibaki, Michael Kijana Wamalwa and Charity Ngilu. It is NAPK that chose Mwai Kibaki as its presidential flag bearer. After Kasarani of 2002 when Kanu imploded and Raila led the dissidents under the banner of National Rainbow Coalition to a coalition with NAPK, the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) was born. Under the slogan “Kibaki Tosha” the Moi-Kanu dictatorship lost the 2002 elections to NARC. And whereas corrupt ethnic jingoists betrayed the NARC dream of a unified and deethnicised politics and country, one can make a connection between the progressive founding spirit of NARC and the achievement of the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution of Kenya. multidisciplinary. I have read revolutionary and radical literature, books on human rights and social justice, conservative books by the think tanks that support the global, continental, and the national status quo, and as many books as I can get on PROFILE Age: 68 Early Career Justice Mutunga holds a PhD in Law obtained in 1992 from Osgoode Hall law School at York University in Toronto, Canada. He has a law degree from the University of Nairobi and a masters in the same field from the University of Dar-es-Salaam obtained in 1971 and 1974 respectively. Dr Mutunga has been an active player in Kenya’s opposition politics since the 1970s when he was a law lecturer at the University of Nairobi. However, his political views would see him exiled in Canada in 1983. Activism In the early 1990s he joined the“Young Turks” – a prodemocracy group bringing together the likes of Paul Muite, James Orengo, Kiraitu Murungi, Gitobu Imanyara, and Raila Odinga. While the rest of the “Young Turks” later joined politics, Dr Mutunga retreated to civil society where he established and served in many civil society organisations, among them the Legal Advice Centre; the Law Society of Kenya, where he served as vice-chairman from 1991 to 1993 and chairman from 1993 to 1995; the Council for Legal Education, Kenya; the Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change (4Cs); the Kenya Human Rights Commission; the East African Centre for Constitutional Development (Kituo Cha Katiba), Uganda. Ford Foundation In 2004, a year after he was appointed Senior Counsel, Mutunga joined the Ford Foundation in Nairobi as a human rights programme officer. In 2009, he became the executive director overseeing all grants making in Eastern Africa, mainly focusing on human rights and social justice and protection of women’s rights. In 2011 he received the backing of the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and civil society leader to become the country’s chief justice in a recruitment process that drew a lot of controversy. the search for paradigms of liberation. I value legal literature, especially works that analyse law within its historical, socio-economic, political and cultural contexts. There is rich literature of such works by intellectuals from the Global South. What would you do differently as CJ? Nothing that I can think of! There are many of your longtime comrades who remain bitter against you personally in regard to the presidential petition judgment of March 30, 2013. What is your comment? In my book on reflections of my work at the Jjudiciary, I will dedicate a whole and detailed chapter on that petition. Until then, I will reserve comment. Has your life as an activist, guru of Kenya’s progressive forces, and CJ affected your family life and friendships for better or worse? On the whole, these re- lationships have been very good. I believe they could have been better. I am at a stage of reflecting on these issues and like all human beings I have had my dark and light sides with shades of grey on both sides! How do your religious beliefs influence your outlook as you go about life and your job? I am a man of all faiths. I have found a spiritual balance from all religions I have practised. I am accountable to God/Allah and my fellow human beings. What do you do to chill out? I read. I watch mov- ies. I walk. I meditate. I do yoga. I daydream. I go out. I spend some time with my six grandchildren. I watch a lot of sports on TV, particularly soccer. I do not support any foreign teams to avoid the stress of fanaticism that comes along with such support. There are great African, South American, and Europeans soccer prlayers I love to watch. What music, books, films, and other cultural aspects of Kenyan life do you particularly enjoy? You know by now the kind of books I read. I am fairly eclectic in my choice of music and films, but I have found my balance in watching and listening to Indian movies and music. The drum and the flute in Indian music stir my emotions and feelings in a very deep way. Indian films make me either cry or laugh. At home, I love many of our young artists with their various messages of social justice and fundamental change. I meet them at PAWA254 and other fora. Both Gado and Maddo are my drinking buddies when we can make the time. I love Kenyan food. Next week look out for Jus- tice Mutunga’s professional life Rwanda ≥unning up bills in genocide cases By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE Special Correspondent THE RWANDAN High Court will on April 15, 2016 decide on one of the country’s longest genocide trials. Dr Leon Mugesera, a former university lecturer and politician who was extradited from Canada in January 2012, has been on trial for almost four years with the prosecution accusing the defence of delaying the case. The prosecution is seek- ing a life sentence. However, Dr Mugesese- ra kept silent all through the prosecution’s evidence in protest against the absence of his lawyer, Felix Rudakemwa in yet another court session on Wednesday. The High Court however went ahead to set the date for the ruling. He is accused of crimes committed mainly through incendiary speeches like the one in 1992 in Kabaya, Western Province inciting genocide and ethnic division. Dr Mugesera was a linguistics lecturer at the National University of Rwanda, Nyakinama campus, in Northern Province and also a political leader in the then ruling party, MRND. The prosecution attrib- uted the lawyer’s absence to “delaying tactics” and obstruction of trial proceedings, alluding to a possible collusion between the accused and his lawyer. Dr Mugesera attributed the delays in his case to the Ministry of Justice, which he blames for not providing the support he requested to have his lawyer paid. The government claims that the trial of several key genocide suspects is proving to be too expensive as legal costs mount. According to sources, the trial of Dr Mugesera, has cost the state close to Rwf100 million ($135,887). Dr Mugesera’s case ranks among the major genocide cases sent to the Rwandan courts for trial in the recent past that have stalled and are now marred by delays and legal complexities. Suspects who have been transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and others extradited from abroad, “Government claims that the trial of several key genocide suspects is proving to be too expensive as legal costs mount.” 9 Dr Mugesera on trial for crimes against humanity. Pic: File have been reluctant to foot their legal bills, insisting that the government should. The suspects also reject legal aid, making it difficult for courts to try their cases, government said. Four of five cases includ- ing Dr Mugesera’s have been postponed several times as government spends colossal amount in litigation costs. The other cases are those of Bernard Munyagishari, Emmanuel Mbarushimana and Jean Uwinkindi who was transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR in April 2012. However, on Thursday, the case of the Jean Bosco Uwinkindi resumed in the high court. Mr Uwinkindi again chose to remain silent citing lack of legal representation after rejecting the lawyers given to him by the Ministry of Justice. High ligation costs While the state has the capacity to provide indigent suspects with legal support, it has accused defence lawyers of using “delaying tactics” to earn more money. The case against Mr Uwinkindi is estimated to have cost the government Rwf38 million ($51,637) despite the trial having not yet gone into substance. Mr Uwinkindi’s case had by June this year cost the government over Rwf82 million ($111,428) in legal costs. The hefty bill pushed the Ministry of Justice to review contracts with lawyers and cut their pay by a half — Rwf15 million ($20,383) per case. The government had by then spent about Rwf160 million (217,420) on Mr Uwinkindi’s previous lawyers alone. Mr Uwinkindi’s previous lawyers quit amid disagreement on the new pay, a situation that pushed the government to get him other lawyers who would agree to work for the revised fees. Mr Uwinkindi case has also been delayed by disagreement on the lawyers, as he insists on reinstating his previous team with costs footed by the government.
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