21 February 2012

Kenya: Court Orders Vetting of Judges to Start Thursday

Photo: Philip Kamakya
Kenya Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board chairman Sharad Rao: Those who fail to make the cut will be allowed to request another review by the same panel within seven days.

Nairobi — The vetting of judges and magistrates is set to kick off on Thursday after the Court of Appeal lifted an order suspending the process.

The same court had last month suspended the vetting until an appeal lodged by a law student was heard and determined.

But on Tuesday, Justices Emmanuel O'kubasu, Alnashir Visram and David Maranga ruled that the vetting must be allowed to continue, as the public interest far outweighed that of individuals involved in the scrutiny.

The student, Dennis Mogambi had appealed against a High Court order that threw out a case he filed challenging to the legality of the vetting process.

Mogambi had argued that if allowed to proceed, the process would be unfair to the judicial officers since the officers had no right of appeal against decisions reached by the vetting board.

He had also argued that judicial officers did not have enough time to prepare their positions or defend themselves against any accusations.

The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board is chaired by Sharad Rao. The last member to be sworn into office two weeks ago was South African judge Albert Sach.

Other members are; Meuledi Iseme, Justus Munyithya, Ngotho Kariuki, Abdirashid Abdullahi, Roselyne Odede, Zambian Fredrick Chomba and Ghanaian CJ Georginah Woods.

The board will vet judges and magistrates who were in office as at August 27, 2010 when the new constitution was passed, to determine their suitability to continue in office.

The board was established by the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act 2011 that received Presidential assent on March 21 last year.

Meanwhile vetting board panelist Justus Munyithya said he was happy with the ruling and that the board will sit on Wednesday to announce a vetting schedule.

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