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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,16TH APRIL,2021-An activist has moved to court seeking an order to stop the ongoing Judicial Service Commission(JSC) Kenya recruitment interviews for a new Chief Justice.
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.
The ten candidates cleared for CJ interviews are Justice Said Chitembwe, Prof. Patricia Mbote, Justice Martha Koome, Justice Marete Njagi, Philip Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Fred Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Prof. Wekesa Moni and Alice Yano.
Memba Ocharo through his lawyers, Danstan Omari and Shadrack Wambui says the candidates who have been interviewed so far have admitted that they did not fill the wealth declaration form as required by law.
Adding that the vetting process has fallen way below the constitutional threshold.
He says the five candidates interviewed so far, Prof. Patriciah Mbote, appellate Judge Martha Koome, Justice Saidi Chitembwe and justice David Njagi Marete have publicly admitted during their interviews that they did not fill wealth declaration forms as required by law.
He also questioned why the interviews are being chaired by Prof. Olive Mugenda in open defiance and insubordination of the constitution and the statutory dictate that demand JSC affairs should either be chaired by the Chief Justice or his deputy.
The file will be placed before a vacation judge Justice Weldon Korir for directions.
Today (Friday) the search for the Country’s Chief Justice enters day five Friday with Mr Murgor Philip Kipchirchir, SC appearing before the JSC panel.
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.
Under the law, the JSC nominates the best three candidates for the position of Chief Justice.
They are vetted by the National Assembly. If all three are found suitable to serve, their names are forwarded to the President who shall pick one.
The JSC will also be looking to fill in two slots of Supreme Court judge, following the retirement of Justice David Maraga and Jackton Ojwang who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in February 2020.
Prof Mbote will be interviewed on Tuesday, followed by Justice Koome, Justice Njagi Marete, Mr Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Mr Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Prof Moni Wekesa and Ms Alice Yeno Jepkoech.
The position of the Supreme Court Judge was left vacant following the retirement of Justice Jackton Ojwang who retired in February 2020.
The new Chief Justice will be Kenya’s 15 and third under the 2010 Constitution.