12 January 2013

Kenya: 17 Women, One Man Apply for Baraza Job

Photo: Daily Nation
Judges taking the oath of office (file photo).

Seventeen women lawyers and judges and one man have applied to fill the post of Deputy Chief Justice left vacant after Nancy Baraza was found unsuitable last year.

Of the 18, nine are judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal while the rest are in private practice. They include city-based lawyer Murtaza Jaffer who is also seeking to be considered for appointment.

Among those hoping to be considered for the post include the former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights boss Florence Jaoko, former Law Society of Kenya chairperson Raychelle Omamo who also served as the Kenyan ambassador to France, lawyers Joyce Majiwa, Muthoni Kambuni, Phoebe Nyawade Okowa, Scholastica Ollando Omondi, Violet Mavisi, Anita Rajpap Shah and Jaffer.

The judges who have expressed interest include Roselyne Nambuye, Kalpana Rawal, Fatuma Sichale, Wanjiru Karanja, Grace Ngenye, Ruth Sitati, Hellen Omondi, Hannah Okwengu and Mary Ang'awa.

Ang'awa was recently found unsuitable to continue serving on the bench by the Judges and Magistrates' Vettting Board chaired by Sharad Rao.

The position of the DCJ was first advertised by the Judicial Service Commission on November 9, 2012 after which a total of ten candidates applied for the job.

The JSC had to re-advertise the job because it was dissatisfied by the number of applicants and this attracted eight more candidates.

The 18 candidates must satisfy the provisions of chapter six of the constitution which requires them to have good temperament and high sense of moral conduct among other things.

The candidates are also required to hold a degree in law and have 15 years experience in practising or teaching law.

The position fell vacant after Nancy Baraza quit after she was convicted of 'gross misconduct and misbehavior' following the December 31, 2011 incident at a city mall where she assaulted a security guard.

A tribunal appointed by President Kibaki and chaired by former Tanzania Chief Justice Augustino S.L. Ramadhani found Baraza guilty of misconduct.

Baraza handed in her resignation to the JSC saying she was unlikely to get a fair and impartial hearing of her petition challenging her sacking as both the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and Justice Smokin Wanjala double roles as members of JSC and members of the Supreme Court presented a conflict of interest. case at the Supreme Court could complicate the matter.

The JSC is expected to meet next week to deliberate on the applications.

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