Court of appeal judge interviews set for December

November 12, 2011 11:26 am
Kenyan judges taking oath /FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12- Kenyans are drawing closer to establishing a renewed Court of Appeal with interviews for the post of Court of Appeal Judge scheduled to kick off next month.

However, only 28 candidates applied for the position before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) short-listed 26; 15 of whom were female.

Justice Paul Kihara, Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal, Jamila Mohammed and Justice Muga Apondi are some of the names that appear on the list of 26 applicants who will be interviewed.

Interestingly, some of the short listed people including Lady Justice Rawal and Consolata Wanjiku Ng’ondi, had already unsuccessfully applied for other top constitutional offices.

“The candidates should bring with them originals of the following items; National Identity Cards, Academic and professional certificates and other supporting documents and testimonials. They will be interviewed at the Supreme Court building,” read an advertisement signed by the JSC Secretary.

Members of the public have also been invited to submit any information they might have rejecting or supporting those of the list of nominees, in writing.

The interviews start on December 5 and will close on December 10.

The President on Thursday expressed confidence that Kenya would realise the much needed judicial reforms. Kenyans already have a Supreme Court as well as 28 judges who will sit in the High Court.

However concerns have been raised about the process of selecting nominees to various constitutional offices with respect to upholding gender, religious and regional balance.

On Thursday, Members of Parliament were engaged in a heated debate over the appointment of the constitutional office holders so far, accusing the state of facilitating ethnic profiling.

The members raised concern at the nomination process arguing that constitutional requirements on gender, religion and region could be used to lock out individuals who were more qualified for the positions.

“It is not fair to lock out people from these positions because of their ethnical backgrounds; people should only be discredited because of their professional shortcomings,” said Belgut MP Charles Keter.

The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) has already called for an audit of all constitutional appointments that have been made with respect to implementing the new law.

CIOC Chair Abdikadir Mohammed explained that the audit would help settle some of the concerns that were being raised before a proper way forward could be recommended.

Mohammed also reiterated the need to have the Public Service Commission reconstituted so that it can streamline the process through which applicants are considered.

“If all the interviews were housed by the Public Service Commission, it would solve some of the issues that are coming up in terms of standardising the interviews and preserving institutional memory so that we know which regions have been favored in the appointments so far and which ones have been left out,” he said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission selection panel has also faced accusations of ignoring religious balance in nominating candidates for posts.

MPs are also opposed to the nomination of Winfred Lichuma as Chairperson of the National Gender and Equality Commission after she emerged the fourth best nominee after the interviews were concluded.

The top three nominees, Maria Nzomo, Jane Dwasi and Violet Mavisi, were rejected because of their ethnic backgrounds.

Mavisi is also among those who have been short-listed for the post of Court of Appeal Judge.


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