Kenya: Lawyer Wants Kenyatta Compelled to Appoint Judges

19 September 2019

A city lawyer has moved to court to have President Uhuru Kenyatta compelled to appoint judges recommended for various posts in the recent recruitment.

Mr Adrian Kamotho Njenga, who is challenging delays in the appointment of judges who qualified for promotion, has also sued the Attorney General.

The Judicial Service Commission and Chief Justice David Maraga are listed as interested parties in the case.

APPOINT JUDGES

While pointing accusing fingers at JSC and the President, Mr Njenga claimed that the law stipulates that the President is required to appoint judges of the superior courts following a recommendation from the commission.

He argued that despite 11 judges being recommended suitable for appointment as appellate court judges and two other superior courts, there has been an ordinate delay.

"The indefinite delay in appointment of superior court judges recommended by the JSC is offensive to the proper administration of justice," said Mr Njenga.

He added: "It is in the interest of justice and sound public policy that the delay in appointment of person recommended as judges of superior courts be resolved at the earliest instance."

PROMOTION

In February, Chief Justice Maraga declared vacancies for judges in the Appellate, Environment and Lands and the Employment and Labour Relations courts in three gazette notices.

As of July 29, 10 High Court judges and one lawyer out the 35 who were interviewed had been recommended for promotion to the Appellate Court following a recruitment process that was done.

At least 20 judges were recommended for appointment as Environment and Lands Court judges while 10 for the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

Those recommended for the appellate court are Justices Tuiyot Francis, Omondi Hellen, Justice Nyamweya Pauline, Korir Weldon, Msagah Mbogholi, Justice Muchelule Aggrey, Dr Kibaya Laibuta, Jessie Lesiit, Ngugi Grace Mumbi, George Odunga and Joel Ngugi.

FILL VACANCIES

JSC intended to fill vacancies in order to raise the number of judges at the appellate court from the current 19 to 30 during the interviews conducted between June 17 and 27.

While JSC was content with its list, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) contested. The LSK claimed that at least two lawyers in private practice should have been appointed.

According to Mr Njenga, the Constitution stipulates that such appointments should not be occasioned by any delays.

In his filed case documents, he claimed that existing vacancies in superior courts were weighing heavily and negatively on the administration of justice in the country.

He wants the AG, JSC and the Chief Justice ordered by the court to take immediate measures to ensure that persons recommended for appointment as judges of Superior Courts discharge their constitutional mandate.

He also wants it declared that the affected judges be at liberty to assume their new roles.

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