Bench to hear Uhuru appeal on appointment of judges directive
The Court of Appeal will today hear an application by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which seeks to reverse the High Court order directing him to appoint six judges he had previously rejected.
A three-judge Bench appointed by the Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga will hear all parties in the suit before issuing a ruling.
The High Court had ordered the President to appoint the six nominees within 14 days failure to which, the six will be deemed to be duly appointed.
Justices George Dulu, William Musyoka and James Wakiaga directed Chief Justice Martha Koome to swear in the six after the two weeks.
Nominees who were left out are Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Weldon Korir, Aggrey Muchelule, Registrar of the High Court Judy Omange and Chief Magistrate Evans Kiago.
The High Court petition filed by Katiba Institute sought enforcement orders after the President declined to appoint the judges.
However, in his application, Uhuru through lawyer Waweru Gatonye claims the judgement is an attempt to rewrite and amend the Constitution in a manner not contemplated under Chapter 16.
“The judgement and orders of superior court are patently unconstitutional and have the potential effect of creating a conflict between the office of the Chief Justice and the Office of the President,” his lawyer Gatonye stated in court papers.
Uhuru argues the High Court potentially stands to occasion uncertainty over the legality of such proceedings to be handled by nominee judges if deemed appointed to their respective superior courts.
“There is imminent danger of embarrassment and uncertainty in the dispensation of justice if the six nominees are deemed appointed as judges and they proceed to preside over legal proceedings notwithstanding the pendency of the intended appeal.”
Katiba Institute in response has opposed the application saying Uhuru has no right of audience before the court because of his blatant contempt, which is deliberately calculated to impede the cause of justice.
“While for two years refusing to appoint the judges per the court orders in Adrian Kamotho Njenga, they have recently gone ahead to appoint only 34 of them leaving out six to thwart the court order,” states Katiba Institute’s Executive Director Christine Nkonge.
According to the lobby, the President’s refusal to comply with the orders has done untold damage to the justice system and to judicial independence.
“At some point, it forced this court to close down its registries in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru, Nyeri and Malindi. The refusal to appoint the judges created a terrible back log. The President’s misconduct was unconstitutional.”