Kibaki backs down on judicial nominees

February 22, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – President Mwai Kibaki has now bowed to mounting pressure and withdrawn a controversial list of nominees to four constitutional offices.

The President, who chaired a meeting of Party of National Unity affiliates and rebel lawmakers from ODM at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Tuesday afternoon, said he had taken into account concerns expressed over the nominations.

"Given the importance of the office of Chief Justice as head of judicial arm of government, I have considered all concerns expressed in regard to nomination and concluded it is beneficial that the nomination to fill the post of CJ is done through the Judicial Service Commission."

He added:  "In regard to the nomination of the Attorney General, I have invited the Prime Minister for further consultations."

He said he had also decided that the positions of Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget should be advertised through the Public Service Commission.

Read the President’s full statement here.

"This will enable us to move forward the implementation process of the Constitution. I appeal to all Kenyans to remain united as we forge ahead with the implementation of the new constitution," said the Head of State.

In his second address to the nation in four days, President Kibaki however insisted that his nominations had been done within the law as vindicated by the reports of two parliamentary committees.

President Kibaki had nominated Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram as the Chief Justice and lawyers Githu Muigai and Kioko Kilukumi as Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions respectively. He had also nominated William Kirwa for Controller of Budget.

The PM has been locked up in a tussle with President Mwai Kibaki over the nominations insisting the President failed to consult him as required by the National Accord.

In his last Thursday\’s address the Head of State said the government would await the conclusion of a constitutional case initially filed by women and youth groups who are contesting that the nominations failed to adhere to the Constitution.

The women contend that gender equality was not respected as there is no woman in the list of four. In issuing an interim injunction, High Court Judge, Daniel Musinga ruled the nominations were unconstitutional.

Justices Kalpana Rawal, George Dulu and Luka Kimaru who were appointed to hear the case directed the parties to file all their documents within seven days so that the matter can be heard from March 2 on a day-to-day basis.

Speaker Kenneth Marende last Thursday declared the nominations unconstitutional and urged the two Principals to reconsider them.

Pressure has been mounting from the international community, clergy, civil society and the business community for the President and PM to resolve the impasse. Ten diplomatic missions chose to take the middle ground and instead called on President Kibaki and the Prime Minister to cooperate and resolve the impasse that appears to derail the implementation of the new Constitution.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga was in the meantime scheduled to address a news conference on the nominations fiasco at 1300GMT.

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