CJ interviews to proceed after litigant fails to stop process

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 00:00 |
KUTRRH chairperson Olive Mugenda.

Ongoing interviews to pick a successor of retired Chief Justice David Maraga will continue uninterrupted.

The verdict came after an attempt by Tolphin Nafula to stop the exercise flopped when the High Court rejected her bid.

In his ruling, Justice Antony Mrima declined to issue the conservatory orders stopping the process  where the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was interviewing judge Said Chitembwe yesterday.

While declining to stop the process, Mrima instead referred the matter to the acting CJ to appoint a three-judge Bench to hear and determine the issues raised in the constitutional petition.

Mrima ruled that the petition by Nafula raises a substantial point of law that needs to be addressed by a Bench.

However, the matter might be overtaken by events due to the tight schedule facing the acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who is among the commissioners interviewing the nine remaining candidates namely Prof Patricia Mbote, Justice Martha Koome, Justice Marete Njagi, Philip Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Fred Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Wekesa Moni, and Alice Yano. Mwilu is sitting with other commissioners on day-to-day basis over the ongoing recruitment process.

Nafula’s petition is challenging Olive Mugenda’s position as the chair of JSC during the interviews.

Chairing sessions

Nafula said Mwilu should be the person chairing the sessions and not Mugenda.

She said Mugenda was elected as an interim vice chairperson and later she learnt she would oversee the interviews.

“This election of Prof Mugenda will thereby relegate the Acting Chief Justice to the status of an ordinary member,” read court papers.

At the same time there are two other petitions filed before the same court by Philip Muchiri, Damaris Ndirangu and Samuel Wanjiru seeking to bar Mugenda and Patrick Gichuhi from the commission.

They claim Mugenda chairs the board of Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital and is also a member of the Commission, which, according to them, is unconstitutional.

The petitioners accused commissioner Gichuhi of illegally representing the Public Service Commission (PSC) at the JSC even after her ouster on January 8, 2019.

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