EDITORIAL: Mwilu case great test requiring rare finesse


Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The arrest and arraignment of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has elicited a lot of debate among Kenyans, considering her high profile as the occupier of the second-highest judicial office in the country.

This case is shaping up to be a litmus test for both the directorate of public prosecutions (DPP) and that of criminal investigations, if initial reactions are anything to go by.

Although the case has been suspended by the High Court pending determination of constitutional issues on whether it is a criminal or civil matter, this remains a sensitive issue.

It is of utmost importance that the case is not only determined but is also seen to be determined purely on the merit of evidence presented before the court.

Given the gravity of the office, the matter must be handled judiciously and speedily.

This expectation will, therefore, put the onus on the prosecuting officers to ensure that they present solid evidence, just like the DPP promised following the arrest of Ms Mwilu on Wednesday.

The charges the DPP and the DCI are bringing up against the deputy chief justice are grave, calling into question her integrity.

Coming as they have in the middle of a sustained fight against corruption, it is not inconceivable that this case will be a key determinant in the success or failure of the campaign against graft.

READ: Mwilu deals Haji a blow in court fight - VIDEO

We would also like to see the matter handled purely on the judicial platform, and are, therefore, calling on those involved to avoid politicising the issue, which would deny the DPP and DCI the chance to prove their case, and also prevent the deputy chief justice from clearing her name.

That said, let this high profile case not distract the country and the government from pursuing the other corruption cases already in court and those lined up to be prosecuted.

There has been a commendable effort by the DPP and DCI to slay the corruption dragon in the past few weeks, and this should not be derailed at any cost.

The growth of the economy depends on fighting graft, both in the public and private sectors.

Kenyans will, therefore, be keen to see sustained political will that has supported the recent crackdown on graft.