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 Prof Mbote Faces Panel for CJ Post

The search for the next Chief Justice entered the second day after Prof Patricia Mbote faces the panel of commissioners from the Judicial Service.

Mbote a career educationists told the panel of her intent to inject her rich experience in the academia background into the judiciary and empower the staff and ensure that institutions was free of corruption.

Prof. Mbote said that she will enhance capacity building for the judicial staff through her networks in the academia world at no cost, asserting that her track record spoke for itself as she was the brainchild behind the enlisting of Strathmore Law School and organisations such as Women in Law in East as institutions from scratch.

If appointed CJ, Prof Mbote said, she will also enrich the bench with her intellectual contributions having been in academia, accrediting herself as an established academia best suited to be the next CJ.

“I am not only a leader but also an institution builder,” she told the Judicial Committee hearing chaired by Prof Olive Mugenda, adding that she served as a dean at the University of Nairobi for an aggregate of five years leading the institution through difficult times.

Prof. Mbote acknowledged that the Judicial Service Commission was underfunded and pledged to mobilize resources  if appointed as the next Chief Justice. “The current budget set for JSC at approximately Sh 500,000 is not sufficient,” she said.

Prof Mbote stated that she has an advantage being a woman because she will bring on board the gift of nurture, but was quick to acknowledge that leadership is about individuals, not gender.

Justice Chitembwe Said Juma who is 54, and has 29 years’ experience in the legal profession started off the process yesterday with past rulings of a defilement case and graft accusations heavily hanging on his neck and was tasked to explain.

The Commission will interview all the shortlisted persons before recommending a candidate for appointment by the President subject to approval by the National Assembly as provided for under Article 166 (1) of the Constitution.

The remaining eight candidates are Lady Justice Martha Koome; Justice Marete Njagi; Philip Murgor; Justice Matthews Nduma; Lawyer Fredrick Ngatia; Justice William Ouko (Court of Appeal President), Dr. Wekesa Moni and Ms. Alice Yano.

Article 167 (2) caps the tenure of Chief Justice at ten years but the holder of the office is required to exit office regardless of attaining the mandatory retirement age outlined in Article 167 (1).

 

The new Chief Justice will be Kenya’s 15 and third under the 2010 Constitution.

 

By Alice Gworo

 

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