Kenya justice minister resigns citing need for judicial reform
Kenya justice minister resigns citing need for judicial reform

[JURIST] Kenyan Justice Minister Martha Karua [personal website] resigned Monday from the ruling coalition, claiming that the government had thwarted much needed judiciary reforms by appointing judges without her knowledge. Karua, the leader of the Narc-Kenya party and an outspoken critic of the government of President Mwai Kibaki [BBC profile], is said to have tendered her resignation [VOA report] despite pleas from party officials to stay on. Karua's move is widely seen as an attempt to position herself for a run at the presidency in 2012 [Capital report]. Shortly after Karua's resignation, medical services assistant minister Danson Mungatana, the second-highest Narc-Kenya minister, also resigned [Capital report] in solidarity.

Karua's resignation comes just after power-sharing negotiations appear to have broken down between Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement [party website] of Prime Minister Raila Odinga [Guardian profile]. The three parties, PNU, Orange Demoratic Party, and Narc-Kenya had come to a power-sharing agreement in 2008 after a violence-plagued election [JURIST reports] in 2007 that resulted in the death of more than 1,000 people. In March, the Kenyan parliament delayed [JURIST report] voting over a constitutional amendment to form a special tribunal to investigate the 2007 violence. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who mediated the power-sharing deal among the warring factions, gave Kenya until May to form a tribunal to investigate the violence before referring the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website].