Judges dominate shortlist for promotions

Thursday, May 5th, 2022 00:00 | By
Former electoral body chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan. PHOTO/File

High Court judges dominate the list of 31 candidates shortlisted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for positions in the Court of Appeal.

JSC in March advertised for six positions of Court of Appeal judges and 20 positions of High Court judges.

In a notice, JSC also shortlisted 104 candidates from 266 who applied for the position of judges of the High Court.

Among those shortlisted for the Court of Appeal judges job are 22 serving judges who include High Court Principal Judge Lydia Achode, Alfred Mabeya-the presiding judge of the Commercial division and judges Abida Ali Aroni, Benard Mweresa, Cecilia Githua and Luka Kimaru.

Others are Makau Onesmus, John Mativo, Christine Meoli, Florence Muchemi, William Musyoka, Francis Muthuku, Nduma Nderi, Ngaah Jairus, Grace Wangui, Fredrick Ochieng’, Eric Ogola, Sammson Okong’o, Hedwig Ong’udi, Stephen Radido and Joseph Sergon.

Statutory requirements

Also shortlisted are former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission bosses chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan, secretary of Prosecutions at Director of Public Prosecutions office Dorcas Oduor and JSC commissioner Paul Mwaniki Gachoka.

The interviews for the Court of Appeal judges will be conducted from June 20 to July 6.

The interviews for the High Court Judge will be conducted on July 18 to August 24.

According to the JSC, it reviewed the applications for completeness and conformity with the constitutional and statutory requirements set out in its advertisement.

“Members of the public are invited to avail in writing any information of interest in respect to any of the shortlisted candidates. Take note that the Commission may interview any member of the public who has submitted information on any of the shortlisted candidates and such information shall be kept confidential,” stated JSC in the advertisement.

Those shortlisted for the High Court position are 44 magistrates among them President of Kenya Magistrate and Judges Association Derrick Kuto, Magistrate Representative to JSC Emily Ominde, anti-corruption court Chief Magistrates Douglas Ogoti and Elizabeth Juma.

Others are Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi and magistrates Achieng Pamela, Adika Harrison Musa Sajide, Ambasi Lucy Njeri, Ameyo Edna Asachi Nyaloti among others.

Former electoral agency deputy chairperson Mahiri-Zaja is also among those on the list.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in June last year, appointed 34 judges and rejected six nominees, out of the now 40 judges that had been proposed by the JSC. JSC had nominated 41 judges but one person died.

To the Court of Appeal, JSC had nominated  11 High Court judges among them Francis Tuiyot, Hellen Omondi, Pauline Nyamweya, Weldon Korir, Msagha Mbogholi, Aggrey Muchelule, Jessie Lesiit, Mumbi Ngugi, George Odunga and Joel Ngugi.

The President however appointed seven of them leaving out Odunga, Korir, Muchelule and Joel Ngugi.

Justices Ngugi and Odunga were among the five judges who declared the Building Bridges Initiative process null and void last year. Justice Ngugi was the Presiding Judge in the five Judge Bench.

The five judge bench had also ruled that that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was improperly constituted and that Uhuru can be sued while in office. The matter is awaiting judgment at the Supreme court.

In October last year, the High court ordered the President to appoint the six Judges he rejected within 14 days.

A three-judge Bench ruled that the six be deemed to have been appointed if the President fails to appoint them within the two weeks.

According to Justices William Musyoka, James Wakiaga and George Dulu, the President does not have power to amend the list of Judges recommended by Judicial Service Commission

“The Chief Justice in conjunction with the JSC will be at liberty to take all the necessary steps to swear in the six, subsequent to them being deemed appointed,” ruled the three Judges.

“The Constitution commands the President to appoint the judges upon receiving their names and has repeatedly said there is no discretion on his part to select a partial list of names,” they said.

The Court of Appeal however suspended the judgment pending the hearing and determination filed by the Attorney General and President Kenyatta.

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