Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya's top national security organ on Thursday ordered the sacking of an immigration official who attempted to stop Chief Justice Willy Mutunga from traveling to Tanzania.
The chief justice also reported receiving what he called a 'poison-pen letter' threatening him with consequences should the judiciary issue controversial judgements against top Presidential candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), comprising the top military chief, Gen. Julius Karangi, Police Chief, David Kimaiyo, the cabinet chief, Francis Kimemia and the head of the national spy agency, Major-General Michael Gichangi, met a day after the Chief Justice warned that his life was in danger after a series of threats.
'The Government of Kenya highly regrets that the Chief Justice was subjected to such a kind of treatment at the airport,' the Security Committee said after the meeting at which it announced the setting up of an investigating panel.
Police Inspector-General Kimaiyo was named the head of a government investigating team to get to the root of the airport incident. It will also include the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keriako Tobiko and Attorney-General Githu Muigai.
The team is required to update the nation on what transpired during the incident. The Chief Justice said efforts to stop him from traveling were a pattern of intimidation against the judiciary, which also included a series of gun attacks against five judges.
Kenya's main political parties demanded the resignation of Kimemia, who issued the orders requiring the Chief Justice to seek clearance before traveling out of the country.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, called for respect to the Judiciary.
'These are acts of forces out to frustrate the emergence of a truly independent Judiciary, a truly competent public service and a truly professional police force,' Musyoka told a news conference in Nairobi on Thursday.
The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) leaders said revelations by Mutunga should get every Kenyan 'very concerned now'.
'We remain committed to upholding the independence of the Judiciary and the principle of separation of powers,' said Musyoka. 'All these acts of impunity and abuse of office are still going on as we speak.'
Meanwhile, the government has called for an investigation into CORD allegations that the public service officers were engaging in campaigns for the Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto-led Jubilee coalition, the main rival to the CORD coalition.
There have been concerns that the accusations linking Kimemia to a party campaign could lead the country facing a critical transition from President Mwai Kibaki to the fourth President to be elected during the 4 March elections to turn violent.