The High Court has temporarily stopped the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from conducting the interviews for judge of Supreme court.
Justices Anthony Mrima and Wilfrida Okwany gave the orders on Wednesday pending hearing of petitions filed by four petitioners.
The court said the ongoing interviews for the position of Chief Justice will go on but the commission is barred from making any deliberations once they conclude.
So far, the commission has interviewed eight candidates for the CJ position.
They are Justice Said Juma Chitembwe, Prof. Patricia Mbote, Philip Murgor, Lawyer Fredrick Ngatia, Lady Justice Martha Koome, Justice Marete Njagi, Justice Matthews Nduma Nderi and Justice William Ouko.
Search for Chief Justice
JSC interviews Justice Ouko pic.twitter.com/z3pWTQYqlK
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 21, 2021
Lady Justice Martha Koome: “I am a visionary and transformative leader. My leadership is situational, consultative and participatory. I bring local, regional and international experience to the leadership of the chief justice”
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 14, 2021
The remaining two candidates — Prof. Moni Wekesa and Ms. Alice Yano — will wrap up the two-week interviews on Friday.
13 individuals had initially applied for the CJ position but after thorough scrutiny of their documents, three nominees were dropped.
Once again the JSC is grappling with interests and intrigues that characterize the search for the individual that will lead the country’s judiciary.
Other than ensuring that the new bench will have regional and ethnic balance and meets the not more that two-thirds requirement — which the previous bench failed to meet — the big question will be whether to pick an insider or outsider.
David Maraga was largely considered an insider, having risen through the ranks in the judiciary, but his predecessor Willy Mutunga was drawn from an activist background.
During Mutunga’s tenure, the Judiciary faced backlash; but it was perhaps the tenure of David Maraga — a staunch Adventist — that threw the Judiciary into the limelight.
The Judiciary was at constant loggerheads with the Executive, which started from the historic ruling nullifying president Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory in 2017.
One of the key considerations that the JSC will be looking at is the nominees’ experience, with the hope of settling on one who will be instrumental in mending the relations between the Executive and the Judiciary.
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