Justice Willy Mutunga, the Kenyan Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, said here Wednesday he had received a letter, threatening with dire consequences, over a court case challenging the suitability of Presidential contender Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, William Ruto.
The Chief Justice also said a group of individuals within the Executive had tried to intimidate him, using junior immigration officers who attempted to stop him from traveling to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The High Court ruled it had no powers to determine whether Kenyatta and Ruto could be stopped from running for the Presidency, but was later faulted by the petitioners for making judgment on the case and ordering the petitioners to pay the cost of filing the suit.
The chief justice said a “poison-pen letter” by a group calling itself the Mungiki Veterans Group/Kenya Sovereignty Defence Squad, dated 13 February, warned him and members of the judiciary of dire consequences against him, judges and ambassadors based in Kenya.
The Chief Justice said after his humiliation at the airport, he received a call from the Director-General of the National Security Intelligence (NSIS), Michael Gichangi, apologizing for the airport incident.
The internal security ministry promised to respond to questions over what actually transpired on 18 Feb. Mutunga, a human rights activist before his appointment to head the judiciary, said he was not likely to be intimidated by the “pattern of emerging harassment”.
“We have seen and overcome worse incidents. No one will be held hostage by a cabal. I believe the security agencies have the capacity to investigate the source of this letter and provide a progress report,” Mutunga told a news conference attended by the members of the Judicial Service Commission.
Meanwhile, Mutunga has called on the Inspector-General of Police to immediately investigate the source of the threatening letter sent to him, saying the security forces must immediately enhance the security of the judges.
At least five judges have been involved in gun incidents in the recent past. The Judiciary said such attacks, coming days to an election and a key transition for Kenya, were likely to have dire consequences.
“The political class must choose whether, either through direct pronouncements or suggestive behaviour, they want a peaceful, democratic and fair election free from the ring of rigging and intimidation, or whether they want to put the country on a path of violence,” Mutunga said.
“Whatever choice the political class and leadership make, they must remain aware that ultimately, the people of Kenya and the rule of law will triumph,” he warned.
He said Kenyans must turn out to vote on 4 March.
“It is only by so doing that we shall silence these dark forces of retrogression and also advance our constitutional and democratic promise. My fellow Kenyans, with confidence and tribute to the nation, go and vote for our Constitution. It is the only way to reject those who threaten and proclaim violence as a false choice.”