Court directs President Kenyatta to appoint six omitted judges

The High Court has given President Uhuru Kenyatta 14 days to approve the appointment six judges recommended join the country’s superior courts.

In a case filed by the Katiba Institute against the head of state after his decision to reject six of the 41 judges backed for promotion by the Judicial Service Commission, a three-judge bench consisting of Justices George Dulu, William Musyoka, and James Wakiaga ruled that the appointments should stand.

If the President declines to abide by the directive, the three judges indicated that the six rejected nominees, that is, justices Weldon Korir, Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Judy Omange and Evans Kiago will be deemed duly appointed.

“Upon the lapse of the 14 days, it shall be presumed that his power has expired and his office becomes functus and the remaining 6 judges shall be deemed duly appointed as judges of highest courts.” The said

They further noted that “subsequent with the judges deemed appointed, the Chief Justice (Hon. Martha Koome) shall be at liberty to take steps to ensure the judges are sworn in.”

They had been nominated to the Court of Appeal, Environment and Lands Court, and the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

But President Kenyatta has insisted that there is evidence to suggest that the six judges have credibility issues that make them unsuitable for appointment to the higher courts.

He said that he could not ignore available information putting into question the integrity of the affected judges.

“Just like you today, I too took the oath to both the letter and the spirit of the law and it is not open to me to turn a blind eye to reports of our state organs,” he said during as 34 others who had been recommended for promotion were sworn in at State House, Nairobi.

Newly appointed Judges of the Court of Appeal, and those of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, and the Environment and Land Court take their Oaths of Office on June 4, 2021 at State House, Nairobi. The Swearing-in Ceremony was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta and attended by Chief Justice Hon Martha Koome and President of the Court of Appeal Justice Daniel Musinga among other senior Government and Judicial Officers.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, however, noted that there had been no binding reason adduced regarding the rejection of the six judicial officers and as such, the Head of State was under obligation to appoint them to their designated offices.

“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my position as the Chief Justice and as the chairperson of the judicial service commission and state that all persons recommended by the JSC and as directed by the constitution must be appointed as judges, that is the law.” She said

  

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