President, PM heap praise on outgoing CJ

February 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24- President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday paid glowing compliment to outgoing Chief Justice Evan Gicheru for maintaining his virtues as a courageous and professional judge during his tenure at the helm of the judiciary.

Mr Gicheru was officiating at his last official public function as the nation\’s CJ ahead of the expiry of his tenure on Saturday as outlined in the transitional clauses of the new Constitution.

The clauses require the nomination of the Chief Justice to have been done six months after the enactment of the Constitution which ends on February 27.

Speaking during the inauguration of the Milimani Law Courts, President Kibaki described the outgoing CJ as a committed civil servant who had served the nation well.

"I am happy that I have this time that I may wish the CJ a good dispatch, in the sense that we may not have another function before he moves. He has been of great help to all of us. God Bless you," he said.

Mr Odinga particularly praised Justice Gicheru for the courageous manner in which he conducted the inquest into the murder of former Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Robert Ouko and wished him well in future endeavors.

"We shall never forget the professionalism, the courage and independence with which he handled the Ouko commission, at that time these virtues were despised and considered anti-government, more importantly it is worth remembering that nearly everyone who had anything to do with the Ouko murder either mysteriously died or disappeared,” Mr Odinga said.

In October 1990 retired President Daniel arap Moi appointed a public inquiry into the case chaired by Justice Gicheru. The inquiry was terminated in November 1991 and did not produce a final report but its proceedings had brought many of the facts of the case to public attention.

The Premier cited the late Justice Fidahussein Abdullah who mysteriously died only a day before delivering his verdict on the trial of former District Commissioner Jonah Anguka who was charged with Ouko\’s murder in 1992

"You have a reason to thank God who appears to have a purpose for you in life," he told the CJ.

VP Kalonzo Musyoka on his part said: “The opening of this 56 courtrooms structure is a commitment by Justice Gicheru to improve service delivery in the judicial sector.”

The CJ, who has had a checkered career as a judge which culminated in his appointment to the post in 2003, opted to take the praise in stride and instead focused on the significance of the ceremony.

President Kibaki on Tuesday said the nomination of the new Chief Justice will be done through the Judicial Service Commission, while he will consult the Prime Minister on the nomination for the next AG.

The Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget will be recruited through advertisement to be placed by the Public Service Commission.

The President had earlier nominated Justice Alnashir Visram as Chief Justice, Prof Githu Muigai as Attorney General, Kioko Kilukumi for Director of Public Prosecutions and William Kirwa as Controller of Budget and

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on Wednesday said the Constitution does not provide for the position of an acting CJ incase Mr Gicheru vacates office before a new one is appointed.

Chairman Charles Nyachae said come Sunday, when Mr Gicheru leaves office, his functions will be carried out administratively within the Judiciary, under the guidance of the Judicial Service Commission.

The transitional clauses of the new Constitution stipulate that the Chief Justice in office immediately before the effective date of the new law can only continue to serve inb the Court of Appeal after undergoing fresh vetting.

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