The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) carries on interviews for thirty candidates who were shortlisted for the Court of Appeal judges’ posts. The interviews had been delayed after the High Court barred the Commission chaired by Chief Justice Martha Koome from conducting them following a suit filed by the Katiba Institute.
Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said four candidates will be interviewed per day starting from 9 am to 4pm.
Katiba Institute had sued Koome and the Commission seeking to stop the recruitment of new judges until the six judges who were left out by President Uhuru Kenyatta out of 41 hired in a previous recruitment are appointed into office.
While issuing a stay, Justice Anthony Mrima had argued that the Katiba Institute and co-petitioners had laid the legal basis to suspend the process being undertaken by the Judicial Service Commission. The orders were, however, suspended by the Court of Appeal which ruled that the lobby had failed to demonstrate what prejudice they would suffer if the recruitment process proceeded as intended.
“We hold the view that the applicants have successfully demonstrated both arguability and the nugatory aspect, and bolstered this with a demonstration that it is in the public interest that the recruitment process of the much needed Judges proceed uninterrupted pending the hearing and determination of the petition before the High Court,”
Justices Wanjiru Karanja, Agnes Murgor and Imaana Laibuta reversed Justice Mrima’s decision saying the process should proceed concurrently with the ongoing suit challenging the recruitment process. In the judgement issued on Thursday, June 23, the three judges noted that the situation could still be remedied in the event the twenty-six judges are hired and the process later impugned.
“If the appeal herein is unsuccessful or if ultimately the recruitment process is impugned by the final Court with requisite jurisdiction, then as held in the Tolphin case (supra), the situation is reversible,” the judges explained.
The panel further argued Katiba Institute and the International Commission of Jurists failed to “demonstrate what prejudice they stand to suffer if the recruitment process proceeds as intended.”
Among grounds cited by the Katiba-led petitioners was the fact that the JSC had failed to ensure six judges listed in the previous recruitment are appointed into office after President Uhuru Kenyatta unilaterally rejected their selection citing adverse mentions in an intelligence report. They argued the President was constitutionally bound to appoint all the 41 persons recommended by the commission at the time.
Katiba Institute cited another petition in which President Kenyatta’s decision to pick 34 judges out of 41 judges selected by JSC was successfully challenged. Only six out of the 30 candidates will be appointed as Court of Appeal judges.
Among those scheduled to be interviewed by the Commission are 22 serving judges including High Court Principal Judge Lydia Achode, and Justice Alfred Mabeya, the presiding judge of the Commercial Division. Justices Abida Ali Aroni, Eboso Benard Mweresa, Githua Cecilia Wathaiya and Kimaru Luka Kiprotich were also listed.
Others include Makau Onesmus Ndumbuthi, Mativo John Mutinga, Justice Meoli Christine Wanjiku, Muchemi Florence Nyaguthii, Musyoka William Musya, Muthuku Francis Gikonyo, Nduma Mathews Nderi, Ngaah Jairus, Ngenye Grace Wangui, Ochieng’ Frederick Andago, Ogola Eric Kennedy Okumu, Okong’o Samson Odhiambo, Ong’udi Hedwig Imbosa, Radido Stephen Okiyo and Sergon Joseph Kiplagat