SEARCH FOR CHIEF JUSTICE enters second day as Patricia Mbote defends self after starting rival Law School

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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,13TH APRIL,2021-The search for the chief justice  entered the second day on Tuesday with Professor  Patricia Mbote facing the interviewing panel. Mbote  was grilled on her being restless when she was not able to get the position of a dean at UoN initially leading her to start a competing Law School at Strathmore.

But, Mbote who is among 10 candidates shortlisted for the position of Chief Justice, blamed her action of being restless due to her age and being ‘young’.

“I was young and restless. I was in my 40s,” she said.

Prof Mbote spoke as she faced the Judicial Service Commission panel on its second day of interviews.

She however assured the JSC that having grown old now, she is not restless anymore.

Though she is a dominant person if, given the chance to head the Supreme Court, Prof Mbote said she will let others make their contribution to encourage collegiality.

“When you work in groups there will always be a dominant person. I know I can be a dominant person and I have learnt to let others do their part to avoid being dictatorial,” she said.

However, she said, when a decision made by the court is against what one person has decided then the court under her leadership will encourage civility to ensure that none of its members feel lesser.

On the issue of the disobedience of court orders, Prof Mbote said that it is an issue of great concern.

Even though she will not keep a black book of those disobeying court orders, Mbote said she will engage in talks with different arms of government over the issue with an aim of promoting rule of law.

“I will talk to different arms of government about working together to ensure the rule of law is abided by because failure to abide by the rule of law will affect the entire nation,” she said.

And to tackle the problem of a backlog of cases that have plagued the Judiciary, Mbote said she will take advantage of technology.

Prof Mbote said that she will try to ensure that courts that are now hearing cases virtually due to the disruption brought about by Covid-19 record proceedings which then can be downloaded.

This, she said will help in reducing the time within which a decision is reached.

“Covid-19 is a silver lining because if we ensured that courts hearing virtual cases are able to produce outcomes quickly. The issue of long handwriting is no longer a problem because they can record proceedings and one can download the recordings and make decisions quickly,” she said.

On the issue of the failure by President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint the 41 judges who had been selected by JSC, Prof Mbote suggested talks with the executive to resolve the issue.

She said she will talk to the President to listen to the concerns and find a solution.

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