Judge quits murder trial, cites meddling in case from families
Says she withdrew over interference from relatives of victim, accused. ‘I know who is trying to reach me, I don’t want to mention them, just know you can’t reach me’
Bungoma High Court judge Abida Aroni yesterday disqualified herself from the high-profile murder trial of a businessman-politician accused of killing a university student.
She said she made the decision because of interference from both the families of the victim and the accused.
“I know who is trying to reach me, I don’t want to mention them but just know you can’t reach me,” Aroni said.
Joseph Waswa is accused of killing Mitch Kibiti, a student at the Technical University of Mombasa, in July 2014.
He is accused of shooting the 25year- old student at Club Etonia in Kimilili town. Kibiti was at a birthday party with friends. The death caused an uproar and Waswa’s club was torched. Waswa denied the charges and is out on bond.
Aroni urged the family of the slain student and Waswa to allow justice to prevail in the emotive case.
She directed the case be transferred to the High Court in Kakamega.
This is the second judge to disqualify herself or himself from this case, after judge Alfred Mabeya withdrew in November 2014.
Mabeya said there was a lot of pressure and interference.
The father of the student, David Kibiti, is a chief officer in the Bungoma county government.
Waswa is a well-known known Bungoma philanthropist. Waswa wants to run for the Bungoma Senate seat.
Waswa, through lawyers J Amollo and Edwin Sifuna, applied to the Court of Appeal in Kisumu.
He wants the case stopped until it is determined whether lawyer George Murunga, representing Kibiti’s family, should be allowed to cross-examine witnesses alongside the prosecution.
On August 17, judge Aroni allowed the application.
The case will be mentioned on January 26 in Kakamega.
Judge Abida Aroni when she appeared before the JSC to be interviewed for the DCJ position on September 26