24 seek to be Kenya’s top judge

March 28, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – Twenty-four lawyers and judicial officers have now applied to fill the vacant positions of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said on Monday that it would meet on April 4 to open the applications and shortlist candidates for the two positions.

“We have received 24 applications for the positions of the CJ and Deputy CJ. The envelopes are still sealed and we will meet next week to review,” Professor Christine Mango who is the Interim Chairperson of the JSC told reporters.

The announcement comes a few days after the government said it had not received any application for the position of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The candidate for CJ should have at least 15 years\’ experience as a distinguished academic, judicial officer or legal practitioner. The JSC on Monday met at the High Court boardroom where they discussed how to handle the short listing of the candidates.

“We had a fruitful team meeting and we discussed the matter within their mandate that is the recruitment of the CJ and the Deputy,” Prof Mango said.

The JSC is expected to set the date for interviewing the short listed candidate next Monday when the successful applicants would be required to appear for oral interrogation.

The process of replacing retired Chief Justice Evan Gicheru stalled after President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga failed to agree on the President\’s nomination of Justice Alnashir Visram.

Justice Gicheru’s term came to an end on February 27 as provided by the new Constitution.

The President had nominated Justice Visram for CJ. He also put forward the names of Prof Githu Muigai for the post of Attorney General, Kioko Kilukumi as the Director of Public Prosecutions while William Kirwa was nominated as the Controller of Budget.

Following the standoff between the two Principals, President Kibaki withdrew his nominees and instead directed that the JSC deals with the positions of the CJ and the Deputy. He also asked for the competitive employment of the DPP through the Public Service Commission.

The Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutual last week urged Kenyans who qualified for the DPP’s position to apply before the end of this week when the deadline for applications is due to lapse.

Applicants for the post of DPP must hold a law degree from a recognised university, or be an advocate of High Court of Kenya, with at least 10 years\’ experience as a superior court judge or professionally qualified magistrate; or similar experience as a distinguished academic or legal practitioner or such experience in other relevant legal field.

The person should have a high moral character, integrity and impartiality.

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