Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua Faces Legal Battle Over Allegations

In a significant legal development, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua finds himself embroiled in a lawsuit following his contentious remarks labeling High Court Judge Esther Maina as corrupt. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Muslim for Human Rights (MUHURI) have filed a petition before the Milimani High Court, seeking redress for what they term as injurious statements against the esteemed judge.

The petitioners are seeking formal retractions and apologies from Deputy President Gachagua, insisting that his remarks have not only defamed Justice Maina but have also brought the judiciary into disrepute. The alleged comments were made during a public address on January 14, 2024, in Iten town, Elgeyo Marekwet county, where Gachagua openly criticized and accused Justice Maina of corruption.

According to KHRC and MUHURI, Gachagua’s statements were not only unfounded but also denied Justice Maina an opportunity to defend herself against the allegations. They argue that Gachagua’s failure to present a petition at the Supreme Court further compounds the gravity of the situation.

The dissatisfaction expressed by Gachagua, as per KHRC, stems from Justice Maina’s decision demanding the forfeiture of his substantial wealth, amounting to Sh200 million. Despite his public discontent with the ruling, Gachagua allegedly failed to explore legal avenues available to him, such as filing an appeal.

The petitioners contend that Gachagua’s actions were a deliberate attempt to undermine the judiciary’s independence and authority, with the aim of exerting political pressure. They assert that such behavior poses a significant risk to constitutional order and erodes public trust in the judiciary.

Moreover, KHRC and MUHURI highlight Gachagua’s broader attacks on the judiciary and its decisions during public gatherings. These attacks, they argue, have the potential to cause constitutional anarchy and undermine the rule of law.

In response to these allegations, the petitioners are urging the court to declare Gachagua’s remarks a violation of Article 75 of the constitution. They seek a formal declaration that the Deputy President’s conduct constitutes a threat to the personal and professional reputation of Justice Maina.

Additionally, they are calling for a declaration that Gachagua’s actions detract from the dignity of his position and constitute a violation of the judiciary’s independence. This legal battle underscores the importance of upholding the rule of law and protecting the integrity of judicial institutions.

In January, Gachagua had vowed to challenge Justice Maina, alleging that her rulings had unfairly tarnished his reputation. However, with legal proceedings now underway, the outcome of this dispute remains uncertain, but its implications for the judiciary’s independence and the rule of law in Kenya are profound.


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