Kenya: Justice Chitembwe Says Evidence Presentation Key in Determining Cases

Nairobi — High Court Judge Said Chitembwe has allayed fears that he will be influenced by external forces when making rulings if appointed Judge of the Supreme Court.

Justice Chitembwe told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Monday that he will solely rely on evidence presented to the apex court before making any determination citing the handling of presidential election petitions.

"What will be at play will be the documentation presented before the court not the stories in the news papers or the opinions of people who are on television. I do not think there is room to be influenced by external factors, we will be there to dispense justice and we will evaluate the case and do justice to it," he said.

While faulting the decision that was made by the bench in the 2017 presidential election, Justice Chitembwe noted that he is yet to fully understand why the court nullified the election.

The position for the Judge of the Supreme Court fell vacant following the retirement of Judge Jackton Ojwang who exited office in 2020 on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Justice Chitembwe who was also interviewed for the position of Chief Justice told the commission that Judges ought to be impartial and should at all times be guided by jurisprudence.

"Judges always take an oath to dispense justice and that simply means that we have to be impartial and non-partisan," he said.

When asked why he had applied for both positions, Justice Juma noted that he was driven by the desire to serve Kenyans.

"I am not looking for employment because I am currently an employee of the Judiciary. My interest is in serving Kenyans because I think I am qualified to work in the Supreme Court and I think I am suitable to be part of the team," he said.

The 54-year-old Judge who is hoping that the tide this time will turn in his favour also told the commission chaired by Professor Olive Mugenda that the prompt handling of cases will be his way of doing business as one of the means to curb corruption at the courts.

He noted that in doing so, the vice of corruption that has over the years dogged the courts will be reduced drastically even though he acknowledged that the perception of corruption at the courts will take time to end.

He noted that the courts owe it to the public to serve and deliver justice to Kenyans even as he maintained that fairness will always be his mantra.

"I believe in the fairness of everybody. I believe that all human nature is meant to be good unless now it exhibits itself in the opposite direction. I always trust everybody unless now you make me distrust you," he said.

Justice Juma is among the seven candidates who were shortlisted for the position of Judge of the Supreme Court and was the first to be grilled by the commission. He has an aggregate experience of 29 years in the legal profession.

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