The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Rawal Poised to Be Next Deputy Chief Justice

Court of Appeal judge Kalpana Rawal has been selected as the country's next deputy chief justice following three days of vetting by the Judicial Service Commission. Justice Rawal only needs Parliament's vetting before she takes up her new responsibilities.

Announcing the nomination, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga yesterday said Justice Rawal who was recently appointed to the appellate court, possesses the "humility and maturity' required for the office of deputy chief justice.

"Justice Rawal evinces mature, patient and humble disposition which are qualities necessary for the office of the Deputy Chief Justice. Justice Rawal would be an important supportive asset to the office of DCJ and the entire judiciary."

The CJ said Justice Rawal was an 'experienced and well grounded judge with a clear view of the Institution of judiciary."

"She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the office required over a forty-year sojourn in the legal profession," he added.

Lady Justice Rawal comes from family which has been steeped in the law. Her father was judge of the High Court of India while her grandfather was a law minister. She started her career as a teacher of both administration and regular police officers at Lower Kabete in 1975.

Justice Rawal holds a Bachelor of Arts, as well as Bachelor and Master of Laws in constitutional and administrative law. In 1975 she became the first woman lawyer to set up her own private practice in Kenya .She ran her general practice until 1999 when she was appointed a commissioner of assize, and thereafter a judge of the High Court.

In 2010 she was appointed to help top government officials record statements with International Criminal Court investigators who were pursuing Kenyans accused of perpetrating post election violence in 2007.

However she never managed to collect the evidence as the courts ruled against the police and provincial administration officers recording statements about the security meetings leading up to, during and after the violence..

In 2012,Justice Rawal was appointed by President Mwai Kibaki to head the team set up to investigate the June 10 helicopter crash that killed six government officials including the late Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his assistant, Orwa Ojode.

Justice Rawal was among five candidates who were shortlisted for the interview. Eighteen people had applied for the job which fell vacant after Nancy Baraza resigned after she was accused of assaulting a security guard at the Village Market on 2012 New Year's eve.

Baraza resignation came after a tribunal headed by former Tanzanian Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani recommended her removal from office for "gross misconduct and misbehaviour."

The tribunal had said Ms Baraza's conduct during the New Year's eve incident showed an "inability to control her behaviour." Ms Baraza was accused of assaulting a security guard, Ms Rebecca Kerubo, and waving a gun at her at the Village Market shopping mall in Nairobi.

The candidates who had been short listed for the DCJ position which was left vacant after Baraza's exit from judiciary were Dr Okowa Phoebe Nyawade, a professor of law at Oxford University in the UK, Diplomat and lawyer Raychelle Awuor Omamo, Joyce Miguda Majiwa, a former chairperson of Fida and a gender and governance expert and Senior counsel Lucy Kambuni.

Ms Majiwa, 56, was one of the nominees shortlisted to sit in the Kenya Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in 2009.

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