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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Search for Kenya’s third Chief Justice as thirteen apply

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Search for Kenya’s third Chief Justice since the promulgation of the constitution is gaining momentum as thirteen individuals, among them five judges submitted their applications to become the next country’s CJ.

However, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, is not among the applicants in the list released by the Judicial Service Commission on Wednesday evening.

Court of Appeal William Ouko, Court of Appeal judge Martha Koome, High Court judges Said Chitembwe and Nduma Nderi, and their Employment and Labour Relations colleague Gitonga Marete are among the applicants.

Also in the list are Senior Counsels Fred Ngatia, Philip Murgor, Patricia Mbote, Dr Moni Wekesa, Otondi Ontweka, Brian Matagaro and Alice Yano as well as Prof Otunga Mare.

They are seeking to succeed David Maraga who retired last month, and handed over to Justice Mwilu to act as CJ. The JSC also announced that nine people had applied to become judges of the Supreme Court as a replacement for Justice Jackton Ojwang’ who retired in February last year.

Among those who applied are Court of Appeal judges Kathurima M’Inoti and Koome, High Court judges Joseph Sergon, Chitembwe and Nduma and Prof Lumumba Nyaberi.

Also on the list are justices Marete, Alice Yano and Dr Lumumba Nyaberi. The deadline for applications for the post of the CJ and a judge of the Supreme Court was Tuesday, February 9 at 5pm.

 “The commission will proceed to shortlist and publicise the list within 14 days as provided in the First Schedule of the Judicial Service Act,” JSC said in a statement.

Once they meet, the JSC will conduct reference checks to review, verify and supplement information provided by applicants. The commission will also communicate to the applicants’ referees and former employers who will be asked to comment on their candidature and get background information.

“Applicants must take note that it is a criminal offence to provide false information and documents in the job application and the same will be verified by relevant bodies,” a gazette notice by acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on January 18 warned.

To ensure transparency, the JSC Act requires the commission to constitute a selection panel consisting of at least five members.

Their function is to shortlist persons for nomination by the commission. The JSC will also be filling one position of a Supreme Court judge, which has remained vacant since Justice Ojwang’ retired in February last year.

The retirement age of judges is 70 years with the option for early retirement after attaining 65 years, as per Article 167 (1) of the Constitution.

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