MPs to hold special sitting on Chief Justice nominee Koome

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Chief Justice Martha Koome. Photo/PD/File

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The National Assembly is today scheduled to hold a Special Sitting to approve or reject the nomination of Chief Justice designate Martha Koome.

 In a Gazette notice dated May 17, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi asked MPs to avail themselves for the exercise.

 “Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 29 (3) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, it is notified for the information of the Members of the National Assembly and the general public that Special Sitting of the Assembly shall be held on Wednesday, May 19 (morning and afternoon) commencing at 10am and at 2.30pm respectively, for purposes of tabling of the Report of the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs on the vetting of the nominee for appointment to the position of Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya,” the notice.

 National Assembly Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya confirmed that the sitting would be held today to dispense with Koome’s nomination.

 “Yes, we will hold the Special Sitting tomorrow. We do not expect any major issues to arise. We need to conclude with her formally,” he said.

 Decision of the Speaker comes after the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Kangema MP Muturi Kigano vetted her on Thursday last week, and yesterday retreated to a Nairobi hotel to write its final report.

 The committee is expected to table the report before the House during the morning sitting to give members time to go through it before debating it in the afternoon where they will be expected to either approve or reject her nomination.

 MPs who sit in the committee but sought anonymity confirmed that they had approved her to take over as the country’s Chief Justice, as there were no major contentions against her candidature.

Vetting exercise

President Uhuru Kenyatta forwarded Justice Koome’s name to Parliament on April 28 for vetting following her nomination by the Judicial Service Commission.

 The National Assembly Standing Orders provide that the committee should notify Justice Koome and the public of the time and place of holding the approvals.

 During the vetting exercise, Koome said fighting corruption would be on top most agenda if approved by Parliament.

 If appointed and sworn in to office by the end of this week, her first task will be to constitute a bench to hear an appeal case against the decision rendered by the a five-judge Bench last week Thursday.

 JSC settled on her as she was, and was considered as “a safe pair of hands” to steer one of the most crucial arms of government, Judiciary insiders said.

 During the interview session, Koome beat nine other candidates including Justice Marete Njagi, lawyer Philip Murgor, Justice Said Chitembwe, law scholar Prof Patricia Mbote, Justice Nduma Nderi, Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Prof Moni Wekesa and lawyer Alice Yano.

 At the same time during today’s sittings, the House will be expected to consider in the thirds reading stages where amendments are introduced, the Kenya National Library Service Bill, 2020 and the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

 Other bills to be considered are the Livestock Bill, 2021, the Irrigation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Community Groups Registration Bill, 2021 and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment bill are supposed to come for first reading today.

 Further also to be debated on are reports of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on The Exemption from Income Tax for Japanese Companies, Japanese Consultants and Japanese employees, the Public Finance Management (National Drought Emergency Fund) Regulations, exemption from Income Tax for Airlines with Government of Kenya Shareholding of at least 45 percent and its subsidiaries.

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