JSC urged to recruit senior judicial officers in transparent manner

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By Micheal Njuguna/Judith Akolo/Eric Biegon

The NGO Council of Kenya has urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to ensure transparency and accountability in the recruitment process of the next Chief justice, deputy chief justice and a judge of the Supreme Court.

In a statement to newsrooms Thursday, the council National Chairman Stephen Cheboi appealed to the commission to ensure that the next Chief justice meets the necessary requirements to take the country forward.

Cheboi urged the commission to conduct a process that is acceptable by all Kenyans and other stakeholders and free from manipulation.

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He said the Judiciary being an independent arm of Government should have a leader who will be a person of high integrity and can be trusted by all Kenyans.

At the same time the council called for gender parity when recruiting the new Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.

This comes at a time the Law Society of Kenya has written a memorandum to the Commission protesting the criteria used in shortlisting candidates for the position of Chief Justice.

However, the Judiciary’s registrar Anne Amadi has said the commission will publish a report detailing the whole exercise.

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On Wednesday, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK)  demanded reasons for the decision by the JSC to drop eight other applicants out of the 14 that had applied for consideration for the position of Chief Justice.

In a letter to the JSC, the LSK Chairman Isaac Okero asked the JSC to state clearly the reasons why some of the applicants were left out.

“It is for this reason that I feel it is important for the purpose of preserving public confidence in the process that the reasons for which the candidates who did not make the shortlist be made public at the earliest possible convenience,” said Okero in the letter addressed to JSC Vice-Chairperson Margaret Kobia.

In a quick rejoinder Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi has said the JSC will release a detailed report of the whole exercise.

On Tuesday the JSC released six names of those shortlisted out of the 14 who had applied for the position of the Chief Justice.

The six candidates shortlisted for the position of Chief Justice are Justice Alnashir Visram, Justice Smokin Wanjala, Justice Roselyne N. Nambuye and Justice David Maraga. The others are Justice Mbogholi Msagha and Lawyer Philip Nzamba Kitonga.

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Those who did not make it to the shortlist were: Law scholar Prof. Makau Mutua, David Mwaure Waihiga, Isaac Rutenberg and Rtd Judge Aron Ringera.

The rest are Lucy Wanja Julius, Justice Prof. Jackton Ojwang, Kongani Udoto Kongani and Daniel Wambura.

The commission received 14 applications for the post of CJ and 15 for the DCJ position.

The Law Society of Kenya while assuring the JSC of its support in the search for a new Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, cautioned the JSC on the fact that the next heads of the highest court in the land represents one of the arms of the government.

“Considering that this process will deliver to Kenya the next head of one arm of government the public interest is expectedly of tremendous intensity with the expectation hiring process be seen to be open and transparent and in conformity with the constitution and the law,” said the LSK.

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Even as this was going on the JSC shortlisted 13 applicants for the position of Deputy Chief Justice, two applicants, Judith Wanjala and David Mwaure Wathiga have been dropped.

The thirteen include: Justice Hannah Okwengu, Justice Abida Ali Aroni, Justice Anges Murgor and Justice Wanjiru Karanja.

The others are Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justice Fatuma Sichale, Justice Lydia Achode, and Justice Pauline Nyamweya.

The rest are Justice Martha Koome, Justice Roselyne Nambuye, Surinder Kapila, Pamela Mwikali Tuti and Joyce Miguda Majiwa.

Eighteen applicants have also made it to the shortlist for Judges of the Supreme Court. They include: Justice Martha Koome, Justice Agnes Murgor, Justice Wanjiru Karanja and Justice Philomena Mwilu.

The others are Justice Roselyne Nambuye, Justice Fatuma Sichale, Justice Pauline Nyamweya and Justice Alnasir Visram.

The rest include; Justice Isaac Lenaola, Justice  Joseph Kiplangat Sergon, Justice Mbogoli Msagha, Justice Erastus Githinji, Justice Luka Kimaru, David Mwaure Waihiga, Dr. John Chebii Kipkoech, Pamela Mwikali Tutui, Dr. Kibaya I. Laibuta and Joyce Miguda Majiwa.

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