LSK petitions Uhuru over delay to appoint 14 new judges

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has now moved to the High Court seeking orders to compel President Uhuru Kenyatta to swear in 14 new judges.

LSK, through Senior Counsel Nzamba Kitonga wants Uhuru to swear in the fourteen whose appointment has been pending for the last seven months.

LSK has moved to the high court seeking a declaration that upon the submission of names of persons to be appointed as Judges by the Judicial Service Commission to the President, the President is obligated by the constitution to appoint, swear-in and gazette the said persons as Judges forthwith.

The 14 were among the list of 25 judges nominated by the JSC in January, with the President formally appointing 11 last week.

President Uhuru while presiding over the swearing in ceremony of the eleven asked Kenyans to be patient saying eventually the process will be completed after background check of the individuals.

However, LSK has sharply differed with the head of state and now wants a declaration that upon the submission of names of the said persons to be appointed as Judges to the President by JSC.

The lawyers’ body argues the President is not required to conduct any process of approval or disapproval and any such purported process of approval or disapproval is unconstitutional.

LSK also wants the High Court to declare that the delay by the President to swear-in and gazette as Judges the persons whose names were submitted to him by JSC is unreasonable and is therefore unconstitutional.

Elsewhere, High Court Principal Judge Richard Mwongo has been named to preside over a three-judge bench that will determine whether or not Embu Governor Martin Wambora’s rights were infringed upon during his impeachment.

Justice Mwongo will sit with Justices George Odunga and Weldon Korir following their appointment by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga last week.

Earlier, Justice Odunga had ruled that the two consolidated petitions filed by Mr Wambora and the residents of Embu County disclosed substantial questions of law warranting the constitution of a bench of an uneven number of judges as provided for in Article 165 (4) of the Constitution, and forwarded the file to the CJ.

He added that in the course of the proceedings, the court would be called upon to interpret the interplay between certain articles of international instruments and the Constitution.