Dr Mutunga carried a back pack to the approval hearings and he confirmed to all and sundry that he is not gay,he is in fact a spiritual man and sees his interest in the position of CJ as a national duty.He revealed himself to be the kind of citizen we wish all Kenyans were and with ideals and values we wish most Kenyan politicians exemplified.
The approval hearings by the Constitutional Implementation oversight committee were held today morning for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecution.The Parliamentarians drawn from parties across the board were asking tough questions to the three candidates endorsed by the President and the Prime Minister.It was a captivating 120 minutes or more on what drives Dr Mutunga,what his beliefs are and was meant to allay the fears the Christian community and some members of society had about Mutunga the man.
The most focus and the toughest questions were reserved for Dr Willy Mutunga who has received the most flak and criticism for his wearing of an ear stud and his questionable religious beliefs.He allayed this fears by quoting Professor J Mbiti who said Africans are “notoriously religious” in his book African Religions and Philosophy by giving himself as the perfect example of this .He said he had been a traditionalist ,then he was baptized as a Protestant,a Catholic a Muslim,has gone to synagogues,shrines and says he does not belong to any one religion but to all of them.In defending his wearing of a stud as an expression of his spirituality he quoted Professor Mbiti who said symbols can not be divorced from religion,you cannot have one without the other.His ear stud was therefore to him similar to the crucifix worn by Christians as an expression of their beliefs.
Like any spiritual person he did say he gets hurt by the vilification he is getting as a result of his beliefs which are protected in the constitution.Am sure if roles were reversed and a Christian was in Dr Mutungas shoes and was having their particular religious symbols discussed and dissected in the public domain the way this man has,they would be demonstrations on the streets already.Christians are persecuted for their beliefs in so many other countries where Christianity is not a majority belief system that is is a pity we are meting out the same prejudices to a man whose only crime was seeking constitutional office.
The Dalai Lama one of the most revered spiritual figures outside of Christianity has a famous quote that states”Human beings are of such a nature that they should have not only material facilities but spiritual sustenance as well.Without spiritual sustenance,it is difficult to get and maintain peace of mind.”I think Kenyans should be happy with the fact that Dr Mutunga did not fear to discuss nor to deny his spiritual leanings in the public domain.It would have been so easy to seek affiliation with any of the many denomination or sects that are available but here is a man unashamedly admitting he has dabbled in all known religions in a bid to find one that he felt comfortable in.Instead of choosing one,he embraced all of them and if truth to be told,all religions are the same only that practices may differ from one to the other but their basic aim is to make the adherents better human beings .
His divorce was also questioned and he clarified he was a petitioner in the proceedings that were currently before the court and he gave the committee copies of the petition.He also underlined the fact that divorce is not to be taken causally,relationships when they break down carry with them a lot of grief and hurt and he said it was not a matter he took lightly.
He also displayed a very forgiving attitude towards the former President Daniel Moi who had detained him without trial.In 2002 when Kenya elected a new President after 24 years of Moi’s rule,most Kenyans tore into the former Presidents character,calling him all manner of names.Dr Mutunga in an article after the shameful behaviour displayed at Uhuru park after the inauguration of the new President urged for tolerance ,forgiveness and respect for the rights of the former President.
On being asked about family values,he stated that he respected the family unit though to him family meant more than the little village he came from in Kitui.He stated that he was very open to the idea for anyone questioning his values to talk to his children,friends and relatives and was saddened that peole who did not even know him would question his value system.
In conclusion Dr Mutunga proved to be everything the Judicial Service Commission envisaged when they sought someone who would reform the judicial system,a man without a tunnel vision of the world,who would hold the new constitution sacred in all his responsibilities and duties as CJ .Just like any human being who had failings he sought to be understood and accepted especially by the Christian minority that had cast aspersions on his character.Am sure this is a man anyone would love to have on their side especially in the fight for justice that so many Kenyans have been denied.
Here was a man who was leaving his position as the representative for Ford Foundation in Eastern Africa and seeking a job in public service with less salary,smaller perks and without the globe trotting the holder of such a job would enjoy.Instead he wanted to serve use the five years he would be in office to reform the judiciary such that justice would be available to all Kenyans regardless of financial clout.A man who just wanted our judiciary to discard its tunnel vision and adopt a bigger picture approach in terms of judgement especially on national interest issues as enshrined in the constitution.That is the kind of man we need to lead the reform agenda in the Judiciary.
NB:I had to edit a few thingsa on this post but it was first posted on the 9th of June 2011.