It was wrong to nullify 2017 presidential election-Justice Chitembwe

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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,3RD MAY,2021-High court judge Said Chitembwe on Monday criticised the Supreme Court decision nullifying the 2017 presidential election saying he didn’t understand the reasoning of the majority.

The majority decision nullified the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on grounds that transmission of results was not done properly.

Judge Chitembwe is one of the seven shortlisted for the position of  Supreme Court judge and was the first to appear before the Judicial Service Commission panel on Monday.

Judge Chitembwe hinted that he was convinced with the dissenting decision of Judge Njoki Ndungu in which she cross-checked all physical forms with complaints made and held that the election was conducted in accordance with the law.

He also wondered why the Supreme Court failed to handle the Wajir Governor academic qualification case by saying that issues should be dealt with by IEBC.

According to Judge Chitembwe, the court ought to have questioned the issue because it is given power under the law to check if a presidential candidate was nominated in accordance with law and has the right qualification.

He wondered why the court didn’t use that law to deal with the case in governors matters.

“If a Form Four drop out is cleared and vies for governor I don’t think my hands will be tied to ask him if he has a degree certificate and how he got it,” he said.

On the issue of corruption he said that though public perception might not be easily fully eliminated he will work towards reducing it.

And for that perception of corruption to reduce he suggests that cases should be heard and determined within a set time frame to ensure there is no delay.

Also he said judges should give well-reasoned decisions so that even those that have lost cases will not be left guessing but understand why.

And when asked why he applied for both the position of Chief Justice and that of Supreme Court judge he said he is driven by desire to serve the common man.

“I am looking to serve the wananchi. An opportunity has arisen and I think I am qualified to work in that court and I think I am suitable to go and be part of the team. I am not looking for employment as I am already an employee of the Judiciary,” he said.

Justice Chitembwe also advocates for change of ideas and in order for that to be realised he suggests that the Judicial Service Commission caps the number of years one can serve on the Supreme Court as a judge to 15 years.

This he said will not only help in the change of ideas but will also give other people the chance to serve on that court.

“Maybe JSC can look at that so that a judge doesn’t go there and block others from ascending to that court,” he said.

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