PNU vows to defend judicial nominees

February 1, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 1- The Party of National Unity on Tuesday vowed to defend President Mwai Kibaki nominees to four key constitutional offices.

Speaking after chairing a three hours parliamentary group at the KICC, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said they had resolved to support the nominations as there were exhaustive consultations on the matter between the President and the Prime Minister.

"All of us right across the political divide are convinced that we need to implement the Constitution expeditiously," he said.

The Vice President said: "I have just been able to have a meeting with the President, and I want you to know that the President consulted extensively with the PM before he made these announcements and therefore with regard to having to comply with the requirement of the Constitution I can tell you this matter is above board."

He however said they are weighing their options given the controversial nature that the nominations have taken with the civil service and constitutional bodies declaring them unconstitutional.

"Like minded leaders are still consulting and we are going to be hearing a lot more on this matter because it is basically a credibility issue; it amounts to who is telling the truth between the President and the PM, and this is an issue that must be brought to a conclusion in order to move this country forward," he said.

PNU Secretary General Kiraitu Murungi said the statements issued by the Judicial Service Commission regarding the appointments were misleading and uncalled for as the President acted in accordance with the law.

Mr Murungi argues that the transitional clauses in the Constitution allow the President to make the nominations without consulting the Judicial Service Commission.

He added that the new Constitution gives two ways of appointing the CJ, stating that the President used the transitional clause which allows him to make nominations. He added the other option only directs for consultations with the Commission after the next general election.

"The Judicial Service Commission has no role to play in the appointment of the CJ during the transition period but after the next general election then Section 166 of the new Constitution applies and it is during that period that the President should appoint the CJ upon recommendation of the JSC," he said.

The political drama heads to Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, as both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have separately written to the Speaker expressing their positions.

The development comes as reports indicate that the VP is to table evidence of consultations in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Sources said the PM\’s side was planning to stall tabling of the names in Parliament by writing to the Speaker requesting him to make a ruling on whether the names should be accepted in the absence of consultations.

The Premier said he had not endorsed the list that contained the names of Justice Alnashir Visram as the Chief Justice, Professor Githu Muigai as Attorney General and Kioko Kilukumi as Director of Public Prosecutions.

This is not the first time that the Speaker finds himself in the middle of a battle between the Grand Coalition principals.  In 2009, he was forced to step in and take over the role of chairman of the House Business Committee after the principals differed over whom between the PM and VP Kalonzo Musyoka was the Leader of Government Business.
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