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I once asked for a plane! Willy Mutunga defends CJ Koome’s new ride

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has rubbished claims that Chief Justice Martha Koome’s state-of-the-art vehicle she used on Madaraka Day was opulent.

Calling for fairness in all arms of government, CJ Mutunga said the judiciary should not be maligned.

Drawing on his past experience, CJ Mutunga said he once asked for a plane for the Judiciary because it was cheaper than hiring one as they were used to.

“If the public thinks that the judiciary is not an arm of the state but a stump, the other arms will continue to think that way,” he stressed in a tweet defending the new vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR sport.

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The 2023 Toyota Land Cruiser 300GR Sport marks a turnaround in the office of the CJ, years after his predecessor CJ David Maraga lamented that he could not get a new taxpayer-funded car despite requests.

In November 2019, CJ Maraga stunned Kenyans after complaining that he did not have a Mercedes Benz.

“CJ doesn’t have a Mercedes, we were told it was a waste but the two Speakers of Parliament have them. I have a Mercedes 250 which is affordable to many while the Speakers of both Houses have Mercedes 500s,” he said.

CJ Maraga, who accused the government of former President Uhuru Kenyatta of mistreating him, said he had “fought” for the respect and presence of the judiciary.

“I have never owned a Mercedes myself and I do not mind. Let the office be treated like the Speaker and Uhuru’s office. We should not be treated like illegitimate children.”

With CJ Koome now enjoying a new car, CJ Mutunga recalled the sentiments of his predecessor: “I think CJ Maraga was talking about equality and equity of state institutions and not individualisation of leaders. Such inequality and unfairness gives the impression that the executive and parliament are the owners of national resources”.

The conversation around CJ Koome’s car was enough as Kenyans complained about the government’s extravagance in the wake of the high cost of living felt by many Kenyans.

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