A heated exchange on Twitter between activist Boniface Mwangi and former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga ensued this weekend, over the eligibility of lawyers to represent graft suspects.
The two were arguing about renowned lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, over his moral authority to comment on the war against graft, at the same time representing suspects of graft.
According to Mutunga, people charged with corruption need legal representation.
“They are innocent until proven guilty. Suppose an activist like you cannot get legal representation?,” Posed Mutunga.
Earlier, Ahmednasir had tweeted, giving counsel to President Uhuru on what he should do about corruption.
“If H.E UHURU/DP Ruto call me today for one single advise…I will tell them…forget about the BIG 4 agenda & building bridge(s)…instead adopt a single agenda..make Kenyans have HOPE/FAITH in tomorrow…call us to UHURU park, holding the BIBLE SWEAR your govt will STOP STEALING,” tweeted Ahmednasir.
However, Mwangi read mischief in the tweet and told off the lawyer. “Please also swear while holding the Holy Quran that you will stop representing people accused of corruption. Walk your advice,” said Mwangi.
Mutunga went on to state that Mwangi’s concerns were moral and not legal, hence could not be used in the fight against corruption.
“The issue you are raising is MORAL not constitutional and legal. Lawyers can of course refuse briefs on moral grounds as long as they don’t say so,” said Mutunga.
Agitated Mwangi told off the former CJ, telling him that Ahmednasir should drop his defence for graft suspects, if he wants to speak against corruption.
“Lawyers have a right to represent whoever they want but if you have a skunk for a client, don’t complain about the smell. If senior counsel Ahmednasir wants to speak on the war against corruption, then he shouldn’t represent those accused of the same corruption,” said Mwangi.
Other people have weighed into the matter, with differentt opinions.
Here are some reactions:-
Dear @bonifacemwangi Law is a high calling. There is something called Cab rank rule that obliges Advocates to take clients as they come and not to shut the door on them provided there is no conflict of interest. It’s a duty to represent clients irrespective of their background…
— Gedi (@Qadar_Gedi) April 20, 2019
“Justice” is for the rich in kenya, they are the only ones who are “innocent until proven guilty” yet a class two kid can prove them guilty in their sleep. Their “rights” end where they infringe on mine. Corrupt persons shud take a bullet in public at uhuru park iwe funzo kwao.
— rejay (@rejay88) April 20, 2019
We have lawmakers who are corrupt, represented by their fellow lawmakers, in courts led by political appointees…..this is the worst it can get. A lawmaker should not represent a fellow lawmaker in a case or be involved with any case against the government. That is conflict
— Moses Murigi (@MosMurigi) April 19, 2019