Prospects of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Women Representative Rachel Shebesh reaching an out-of-court settlement over an impending assault case collapsed yesterday when the lawmaker ruled out any compromise on the matter.
Through lawyer Cecil Miller, Mrs Shebesh told Dr Kidero to prepare for a legal duel. She said she was not going to entertain an out-of-court deal.
“We have no intention to negotiate and my client has issued express instructions to this effect. Consequently, there are no intentions to strike any agreement out of court,” Mr Miller told the Nation.
Mr Justice Isaac Lenaola of the High Court had on Friday given the two leaders seven days to reach an out-of-court settlement or face assault and public disturbance charges respectively for an incident in Dr Kidero’s office on September 6, last year.
Mrs Shebesh has accused the governor of slapping her after she led a group of striking workers to his office.
Dr Kidero also recorded a statement with the police after the scuffle alleging that he was also assaulted.
Mr Miller said his client had enough witnesses to testify in her favour.
“My client wants the law to be the arbiter,” he said.
SHEBESH SNUBS KIDERO
Mr Evans Ondieki, the lawyer for Mr Alex Ochako — who moved to court to stop the assault case against Dr Kidero — had earlier said they wanted the two leaders to meet and settle the dispute without involving intermediaries.
He said they had set out to meet Mrs Shebesh on Saturday but she was not available.
“We were told she had other engagements but we are hoping to meet and sort out the issue once and for all,” Mr Ondieki said.
Law Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua warned that the two might be compelled to leave office if found culpable.
“There is no legal requirement that they vacate office because of the charges. It would thus be premature to bring this up but should they be found guilty, that is a real possibility,” he said.
According to Chapter 11 of the Constitution, a governor can be removed from office for gross violation of the Constitution or if he commits a crime under national or international law. He can also be shown the door for abuse of office or physical or mental incapacity to perform his functions. The same applies to an MP.
The failure by the two leaders to make peace would complicate matters for them because any city resident can move to court to demand their resignation should any of them be found guilty.
Last year, Mrs Shebesh told the BBC that she would be filing an assault case against Dr Kidero.
On Wednesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, ordered that Dr Kidero be charged with assault and Mrs Shebesh with creating disturbance.
Mr Tobiko also recommended to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss, Mr Ndegwa Muhoro, that the two be prosecuted after perusing a file which had been forwarded to his office.
Nairobi County CID chief Nicholas Kamwende had however earlier recommended that both Dr Kidero and Mrs Shebesh be charged with affray.
Under Section 92 of the Penal Code, affray is defined as taking part in a fight in a public place, and those found guilty are liable to imprisonment for one year.
They had both presented P3 forms indicating they had each been injured. Each also presented several witnesses. About 10 people recorded statements to support Dr Kidero’s allegation, while Mrs Shebesh had seven witnesses.
Dr Kidero allegedly slapped Mrs Shebesh on September 6 and she filed a complaint at the Parliament police station. The governor reported the matter to the Central police station and claimed that Mrs Shebesh first hit him in the groin.
The incident happened when Mrs Shebesh joined striking council workers who had stormed the governor’s office at City Hall.
As Dr Kidero opened the door, he was confronted by Mrs Shebesh and around 30 workers. Dr Kidero however later apologised to Mrs Shebesh, terming his reaction “unfortunate” and the incident “ugly”.
The Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) has provisions for withdrawal of cases.
Section 176 allows reconciliation by allowing parties to reach an out of court settlement on a personal or private matter not amounting to a felony, and not aggravated in degree.
Section 204 also allows a complainant to withdraw a complaint at any time before a final order is passed, after he or she satisfies the court that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him or her to withdraw his complaint.
If charged, Dr Kidero would be the first among the 47 county governors to be arraigned in court on assault charges.