President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally approved the appointments 34 out the 40 judges the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) nominated almost two years ago sparking controversy over the delay.
The Head of State approved the controversy riddled list but rejected six of the nominees In a Gazette Notice dated June 3, breaking the impasse over the delayed approval that degenerated into a frosty affair between the executive and the judiciary arms of government.
Four notable figures missing in the approved list of nominees included Justices George Odunga, Prof. Joel Ngugi. Weldon Korir, and Aggrey Muchelule.
Others were Judges Makori Evans Kiago and Judith Omange Cheruiyot who names were rejected and sent back to the commission.
Successful nominees include long-serving judge Msagha Mbogholi and his High Court colleagues Hellen Omondi, Francis Tuiyott, Jessie Lesiit, Mumbi Ngugi and Pauline Nyamweya,as well as law scholar Dr Imanata Laibuta.
The President also appointed nine judges to the Employment and Labour Relations Court and another 18 to the Environment and Land Court, leaving out two judges.
The Judges appointed to the Employment and Labour Relations Court are Baari Christine Noontatua, Gakeri Jacob Kariuki, Keli Jemima Wanza, Mwaure Ann Ngibuini, Matanga Bernard Odongo Manani, Rutto Stella Chemtai, Kebira Ocharo, Kitiku Agnes Mueni-Nzei and Nderitu David Njagi.
Environment and Land Court appointees include, Mboya Oguttu Joseph, Naikuni Lucas Leperes, Mwanyale Michael Ngolo, Addraya Edda Dena, Kimani Lilian Gathoni, Kamau Joseph Mugo, Wabwoto Karoph Edward, Koross Anne Yatich Kipingor and Gicheru Maxwell Nduiga. Others are Mogeni Ann Jacqueline Akhalemesi, Ongarora Fred Nyagaka, Christopher Kyania Nzili, Mugo David Mwangi, Omollo Lynette Achieng’, Washe Emmanuel.
The recruitment of the judges was finalized by the commission between July and August 2019 and forwarded the list to President Kenyatta for appointment.
Chief Justice David Maraga during his tenure in which the recommendations of the Judges were made, had pleaded with the president to appoint the judges, in vain with the President citing integrity issues for failure of appointment.
“The constitution does not donate any mandate to the president to perform any other act upon [receiving] the names recommended by the JSC except to appoint them,” Maraga had said.
The former CJ noted that the situation was probably worse at the court of appeal, which had 15 judges serving the whole Country.
Ironically Justices George Odunga and Prof. Joel Ngugi were part of the five-judge bench that declared Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) an illegality and further ruled that the President violated Chapter six of the constitution on Leadership and Integrity, for attempting to change the Constitution through the unconstitutional process.
Chief Justice Martha Koome while seeking for the office promised to thaw out the frosty relation with the executive through dialogue to break the standoff to ensure that the Judiciary’s functions were not impeded due to lack of Judges quorum.
By Alice Gworo