List of Court of Appeal judges hearing BBI Case

Friday, August 20th, 2021 07:43 |
The seven-judge bench of the Court of Appeal during the Building Bridges Initiative appeal case hearing on Friday, August 20. Photo/PD/Gerald Ithana

As the country awaits the much anticipated rulling on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) by the Court of Appeal, all eyes are fixed on the seven judges who presided over the case.

On Friday, August 20, the Appellate court led by President Daniel Musinga will deliver its ruling in one of the most consequential cases since the nullification of the 2017 presidential election.

All eyes are trained on Justices Roselyne Nambuye, Hannah Okwengu, Patrick Kiage, Gatembu Kairu, Fatuma Sichale and Francis Tuiyott.

In June 4, President Uhuru Kenyatta promoted Justice Musinga from the High Court as he took over the leadership of the Court of Appeal from Justice William Ouko who was elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge.

Musinga made headlines in 2009 when he nullified the creation of new districts, ruling that the units which were created during the presidency of Daniel Arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki illegal.

In his rulling, Musinga said the creation of the said units contravened the the constititution.

Two years later in 2011, Musinga, then a High Court judge, rubbed shoulders with the executive when he quashed the controversial
appointment of Judge Alashir Vishram and lawyer Githu Muigai as Chief Justice (CJ) and Attorney General respectively by President Mwai Kibaki during the coalition government.

In 2013, Justice Musinga sat in a bench that faulted the High Court decision to redraw electoral boundaries following a petition over the creation of 80 new constituencies.

Justice Sichale- a former commissioner with the defunct anti-corruption sat in the much-criticised Court of Appeal bench that overturned High Court judge George Odunga’s declaration that the appointment of returning and presiding officers for the 2017 was irregular and illegal.

One of the longest judges of Court of Appeal, Nambuye was among judges, including Kiage, who lifted the recent High Court order blocking the appointment of the chief justice.

Nambuye who was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2011, has successfully fought two recommendations for her removal from the courts. In 2003, the Integrity and Anticorruption Committee of the Judiciary that conducted a “radical surgery” of the Bench said she was unfit to serve and recommended she be removed from office.

She however challenged this decision by the Justice Aaron Ringera-led team and was reinstated by former President Mwai Kibaki.

And in 2012 the Sharad Rao-led Vetting Board proposed her removal because of her tendency to delay rulings and judgments. She again challenged her removal and asked that she be vetted afresh. She was declared fit to serve as a judge during the re-vetting. She is due to retire next year.

Kiage, a former prosecutor and part-time university lecturer and author, is known for his habit to volunteer to write judgments in cases he participates in deciding.

Justices Kairu and Tuiyott have mostly been based at the commercial division.

Together with Justice Nambuye, Kairu delivered the ruling that former High Court judge Muga Apondi should not claim Ksh2.5 fees from lawyer Philip Nyachoti, since he had no direct instruction to appear in an election petition.

Justice Okwengu was the recipient of the Law Society of Kenya Award for distinguished service in the Administration of Justice for the year 1998. Highly techno-savvy, in February 2020, she issued 57 appeal court judgments and rulings using video link.

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