Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has opened up on the paranoid life she has been living since the nullification of the 2017 Presidential General Election results.
Speaking to a local media, DCJ Mwilu said her life has never been the same since the 2017 court decision.
In a historic ruling delivered on September 1, 2017, the Supreme Court of Kenya nullified the re-election of a sitting president – President Uhuru Kenyatta, ordering a new vote to be held within 60 days after finding that the outcome of the August,2017 elections had been tainted by irregularities and illegalities.
Chief Justice David Maraga declared the result “invalid, null and void” after siding with the opposition, which had argued that the vote had been electronically manipulated to assure a victory for President Kenyatta.
According to Mwilu, since the ruling, morbid fear is something she has learnt to live with. This has peaked in the past few months with strange cars trailing her and odd calls which have constantly been coming through.
The 58-year-old revealed that she has been condemned to carry the the burden of the 2017 decision on behalf of her colleagues and the country.
Public arrest, humiliation on social media and endless court battles are among the issues that have been giving her sleepless nights.
She, however, remains firm that her fate won’t take the path of Nancy Baraza, who was hounded out by a zealous Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for pinching a guard.
“I discharge my duties diligently and I have upheld my solemn duty to defend and protect Kenya’s Constitution as one of the top judges in Kenya. Whether they kill me as they’ve been attempting to do, I’ll continue to discharge my duties as a judge without fear or favour, ” she told The Sunday Standard.
She revealed that a gun attack on her official car, that left one of his body guards injured back in October 2017, informed immediate change of her security protocol.
“I am a devout Catholic. I used to drive myself to church. Then I started being driven to church by a driver and a bodyguard. Right now, I cannot even dare to church without the whole entourage of security and vehicles. I feel very, very scared these days,” she said.
Random people have also been calling her, saying nothing but insults, she disclosed.
Fake news is something she has also learnt to live with. Like few weeks ago, she was shocked to read on social media that she was critically ill.
“I have never been this scared in my life and yet besides taking the necessary caution and trusting God, there is little else I can do about it,” she said.
Mwilu has, however, not bothered to report the incidents to the police, for fear that nobody will take up the issue seriously.
“I totally appreciate the role of police in our set up. And that is why I trust my bodyguards to keep me safe, and indeed they have. The fact of the matter is that it is quite a different matter to report to the same leadership that has demonstrated every wish to get me out.”
According to the local daily reports, Mwilu believes her August 28, 2018 publicised arrest was calculated at inflicting maximum damage to her reputation. She cannot come to terms with the fact that her private commercial transactions and loans can be criminalised.
“Before September 1, who even knew me? Did you people in the media even know me? I remember when I was appointed, people were only relating me to some of my previous judicial pronouncements especially the one relating to polygamy…” she said.
The DCJ says for those who have continued to frustrate her because of the 2017 decision, they should stop as it was nothing personal.
During the petition hearing, many remember on how she came down hard on lawyers Fred Ngatia, Tom Macharia and Paul Muite on the matter of stray ballots.
“It was nothing personal. I was just doing my work. I do not skirt around issues. Whenever I see counsel going round in circles, I tell them as much. I do not consider this to be a vice. To the contrary, it is a virtue in the kind of work that I do,” Mwilu revealed.
On working with opposition lawyers to render a favorable ruling, Mwilu claims she had no touch with such people.
“You will be surprised, some of these people I have been accused of meeting, I only used to see them on TV or from a distance in courts. Of course, I later came to meet some of them in my subsequent battles. The long and short of this is that our decision was not influenced by anyone. It was all decided in that courtroom, and it was live.
“For that to hold, you would have to tell me how for heavens sake I would come to exert such undue influence, control and power over such independent and strong colleagues as the Chief Justice Maraga, Justice Lenaola or Justice Wanjala, ” she said.
Last month, the DCJ’s worries resurfaced after the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji filed a petition at the JSC seeking her removal.
In his petition, Haji said that Mwilu is unfit for public office as she was involved in the irregular sale and acquisition of property including obtaining the execution of a security by false pretense.
The DPP also wants Mwilu removed from office for failure to pay taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority, forgery and uttering a false document.
In May 31, Mwilu survived prosecution over graft allegations after a five-judge bench faulted the conduct of the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti stating he obtained evidence against her illegally from the collapsed Imperial Bank Limited.