By Kahawa Tungu
Once revered in judiciary circles as among a small clique of influential lawyers to go to for high profile cases, Ahmednasir Abdulahi has seen his legal career suffer massive setbacks since the 2013 supreme court presidential debut that remains the highest profile case in recent times.
Ahmednasir thrived under Dr. Willy Mutunga, who was himself accused of having benefited from the lawyer’s treachery as then a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that recommended his name for the Chief Justice post.
Ahmednasir had been exposed as having leaked interview questions to Mutunga, then coached him on how to answer them, eventually seeing him emerge as the top potentate for the CJ post.
Throughout Mutunga’s lackluster tenure, Ahmednasir held sway in the judiciary; and held the Supreme Court by the balls, leading in part to the trashing of Raila Odinga petition, where he used very vile language to describe the then CORD presidential candidate.
It had been expected, by many observers, that Ahmednasir would land a big posting under Jubilee regime. He was believed to have sway on the new regime, and was credited, in part, to the appointment of numerous somali-kenyans to high profile positions in Uhuru regime, including in the cabinet.
The posting did not come. His fat-check client, the IEBC under Isaack Hassan, was torpedoed. He lost a big case to little known law firm of Nelson Havi, his former student, and murmured loudly about ‘underhand tactics’.
The ‘Grand Mulla’ still has clients. Big money clients. But it is the waning prestige of shaping things in an institution that still reeled from his overbearance that seems to be eating him up, from inside.
He emerged recently, unexpectedly, on the side of Jubilee, a forlorn, disturbed soul, older, paling and wrinkled, as if worn from a long sexual dry spell; and emaciated, like his peer in Tana River awaiting the arrival of GoK unga at Ksh 90 a kilo, to eat and die.
His legal arguments were jumbled, and obvious. In 2013 he had argued for ‘judicial restraint’. In 2017, he was still pushing this line of jurisprudential theory. Time had elapsed. Society had changed. Yet it seemed Ahmednasir was stuck in a time wrap.
The three judge bench of Justice Prof. Joel Ngugi (presiding), Justice John Mativo and Justice George Odunga tore into his legal arguments, and exposed him more.
“…acquiescing to the invitation by Mr. Ahmednasir to adhere to a doctrine of Judicial Restraint would be constitutionally impermissible to the extent that it would entail a reluctance to exercise clearly mandated authority granted to the Court. We are of the view that once a party properly pleads a case, that party is entitled under our Constitution to receive a decision on its merits…”.
The judges added, “…we are unable to adopt any judicial theory of Constitutional interpretation by which the Court denies itself clearly enunciated authority and obligation to review administrative decisions. There is simply no Constitutional basis for such a doctrine under our constitutional schema…”
In 2013, Ahmednasir had referred to the Supreme Court as a ‘crawling court’, while urging it to dismiss the presidential petition. In 2017, he plotted the same, and lost.
Jubilee insiders say Ahmednasir opportunistically joined the case, believing the court would naturally rule against NASA as the timelines to the 2017 polls made it virtually impossible to make any other decision. Yet the court quashed the tender award to Al Ghurair, in an upset victory to the opposition that has left tongues wagging and heightened the political stakes, only weeks to August Election Day.