Supreme Court Justice Smoking Wanjala, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and Chief Justice David Maraga during the 2017 presidential election petition hearing.
By Mkarimu Media
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has revealed how her life made a turn for the worst after the nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election in 2017.
Speaking in an interview with The Standard, she disclosed that she has never been this scared in her life, citing a past attack on her bodyguard, strange calls from unknown people and cars that have been trailing her.
“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 disclosed.
She tied her current troubles, among them a court battle and petition to kick her out of the Supreme Court by DPP Noordin Haji, to the nullified poll.
Referring to her no-nonsense demeanor where she told off Uhuru and IEBC lawyers during the petition hearing, she stated, “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.”
And as to the said meetings with NASA lawyers to “fix” the judgement, Mwilu said there was nothing of the kind.
“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.”
She vowed that the sustained attack on her character will not slow her down, that she will fight the pending petition with all her might once served and that she will continue to discharge her mandate in accordance to the law.
“I cannot look at these things in isolation. No reasonable person would. But if they think all these things can shake my resolve and fidelity to the oath I took, they are gravely mistaken. You can threaten my personal security but not my resolve to do what is right,” she said.
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.
She said besides the national drama it caused, the arrest hurt her deeply, partly because two days later, she was supposed to speak to secondary school girls in a mentorship programme she had been running.
“When I called to cancel, I was told that the girls would hear none of it. But there was no way I was going to stand before them. Later, I was told security men camped there all through in a lorry apparently to offer me security, something they had not done in all the other mentorship programmes,” she said. She firmly believes the criminal charges she faced, and which have since been quashed by the High Court, have everything to do with the 2017 decision. But one thing troubles her most about it: Why her?
“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 recalled.
The deputy CJ regretted that she had been condemned to a life of fear that there were people out to get her.
During the interview, her bodyguards kept at her side and she only ordered them away after she was comfortable with the journalist.
“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 spoke.
When asked whether she had reported the fears to police, she thought about the question, and pausing in between, responded that she had made it known but not filed a formal complaint.
“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,” Mwilu told the journalist.
Her two predecessors have been denied dignified exits but Mwilu has vowed to stay strong and see it through.
Nancy Barasa was hounded out of the office amid highly publicised drama where she was accused of pinching a security guard on the nose.
Kalpana Rawal, on the other hand, was ordered to retire upon attaining the age of 70 after putting up a spirited fight arguing that she should have retired at 74 because she was appointed as a judge under the old constitution.