Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi has claimed that Lady Justice of the Court of Appeal Martha Koome is out to intimidate him after he challenged her nomination as Chief Justice.
Havi also made it clear that he will neither apologize nor retract remarks he made concerning the nomination of Koome as the Chief Justice.
In a letter to Koome’s lawyers, Havi said the demand letter by the Court of Appeal judge is an attempt to intimidate him from submitting on behalf of the LSK information to the National Assembly on her competence and integrity.
“I perceive the demand by Justice Koome as an attempt to intimidate me from submitting on behalf of the Law Society of Kenya information to the National Assembly on her competence, integrity, and suitability as a judge and prospective Chief Justice,” read the letter in part.
Havi while describing Koome as “overbearing” argued that his statements about her were true and fall under the principle of a fair comment made in the public interest.
He added that when the lawyer was questioned over a succession matter from a woman to woman marriage, reservations were raised on her ability to understand and apply the law.
He also cited a child custody case claiming that Koome displayed unfairness by upholding an appeal against an order made in a magistrate court without hearing the father.
Last week Martha Koome had threatened that she would sue the LSK President after she suffered “embarrassment, ridicule, and odium” following Havi’s utterances.
This was after Havi in the memorandum to the Judicial Service Commission dated March 29, 2021, alleged that the conduct of Justice Koome in matters of public importance manifested an inability on her part to act independently, without favoritism.
Havi indicated that the nominee for Chief Justice was prone to nepotism, favoritism, and improper motive.
She said that Koome has twice, sought to be appointed as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice but failed.
He argued that there is no indication of how the Lady Justice has improved in her integrity, competence, and suitability since then for her qualify for either of the two offices she had been shortlisted for interview.
He added that the JSC should carefully consider whether her conduct meets the criterion for removal from office.
Koome in a demand letter through her lawyers stated that Havi should immediately, clearly, unambiguously, unconditionally, and unequivocally apologize in writing within seven days.