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Vol 44 No 22

Published 7th November 2003


The best money can buy

Kibaki's reformers are purging the judges – to much applause

'Why hire a lawyer when you can buy a judge?' runs a well-worn Kenyan joke. It's a joke that reformers in President Mwai Kibaki's government want to make redundant. The younger intake of ministers and advisors argue that root and branch reform of the judicial system is key to cleaning up politics. Yet their efforts are being undermined by veteran politicians and business people who are using the purge of the judiciary as a way to destroy their opponents but lay open the reforms to charges of witch-hunting and score-settling. Now 23 of the 56 senior judges have been suspended, following a report into judicial corruption by Aaron Ringera, head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority (KACA). The judges will face tribunals, due to convene next month, which could lead to their dismissal and prosecution.

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