The search for the Country’s Chief Justice enters day four Thursday with Hon. Mr. Justice Marete David K. Njagi appearing before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) panel.
Justice Marete was born in 1959 in Tharaka Nithi County and holds the following academic and professional qualifications:
- Master of Laws from the University of Nairobi (2007)
- Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi (1984)
- Post Graduate Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law (1985)
- Admitted to the Roll of Advocates in 1985
- Diploma in Theology from the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (2004)
The Hon. Judge has an aggregate of 35 years experience in the legal profession:
- Appointed as a Judge of the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) in 2012
- Currently serving at the ELRC in Nyeri, served previously in Nairobi, Kericho and Eldoret
- Lecturer, African Nazarene University (2012)
- Senior Principal Legal Officer at Teachers Service Commission (2003–2009)
- State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, rising to the rank of Principal State Counsel (1985 – 2002)
The JSC is grilling the candidates for the position of Chief Justice and nine others for the position of Supreme Court Judge in a process that will end later this month.
All the 10 JSC commissioners – Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu (Supreme Court), Justice Mohamed Warsame (Court of Appeal), Justice David Majanja (High Court), Ms Olwande (Chief Magistrates Court), Macharia Njeru (Law Society of Kenya), Ms Ann Amadi (Judiciary Registrar), Mr Kihara Kariuki (Attorney General), Patrick Gichohi (Public Service Commission), Mr Felix Koskei (public representative) and Prof Olive Mugenda (public representative) – are presiding over the selection process.
The JSC Act stipulates that the process of recruiting a Chief Justice should be conducted transparently while factoring in the issues of gender, age, experience and regional balance, key elements that will determine who will form the next bench.
The Chief Justice is formally appointed by the President but is selected by the Judicial Service Commission in a competitive process and interviews.
The CJ must have at least 15 years as a legal practitioner.
Those shortlisted candidates for the Supreme Court Judge position include Justice Said Chitembwe, Justice Martha Koome, Justice M’inoti Kathurima, Justice Nduma Nderi, Lumumba Nyaberi, Justice William Ouko, Justice Joseph Sergon and Alice Yano.
Maraga, exited office on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 and handed over the instruments of power to Mwilu who is holding the position on an acting capacity until a substantive Chief Justice is appointed.
The position of the Supreme Court Judge was left vacant following the retirement of Justice Jackton Ojwang who retired in February 2020.
The Commission will interview 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.
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.