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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 February, 2003, 10:59 GMT
Kenya's chief justice resigns
President Kibaki
President Kibaki is on a crusade against corruption

Kenya's Chief Justice Bernard Chunga has stepped down after a tribunal was set up to investigate alleged misconduct.

President Mwai Kibaki, who established the tribunal last week, has accepted his resignation.

The tribunal was going to probe allegations that he:

  • had planned, condoned and carried out torture;
  • had been corrupt;
  • had interfered with judges.

Legal experts are split on whether the tribunal will continue its investigations following his resignation.

The tribunal was portrayed as a key test of President Mwai Kibaki's crusade against corruption, which swept him to victory in December elections.

Fresh allegations of Mr Chunga's alleged involvement in the torture of political prisoners in the 1990s surfaced after torture chambers at Nyayo House in Nairobi were opened to the public earlier this month.

'Pre-judged'

He was a senior state prosecutor for the previous government of President Daniel arap Moi.

Human rights organisations and dissidents who were jailed had called for him to step down.

Opening parliament last week, Mr Kibaki said he wanted to fundamentally reform the judiciary to guarantee its integrity and independence.

An MP for the former ruling party, William Ruto, told AFP news agency that the tribunal was simply being used as an excuse to get rid of the chief justice.

"It looks like Chunga has been pre-judged and found guilty, and merely what they are doing is to rubber-stamp the decision," he said.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Raychelle Omamo of Law Society on Focus on Africa
"It is a very strong message that all judicial officers are accountable"



SEE ALSO:
Kibaki targets chief justice
21 Feb 03 |  Africa
Kenya frees death row inmates
25 Feb 03 |  Africa
Profile: Kenya's new leader
29 Dec 02 |  Africa
Country profile: Kenya
04 Jan 03 |  Country profiles


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