NGO files case to block hiring of top Judiciary staff

July 15, 2016 6:40 pm
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The Trusted Society of Human Rights Association through lawyers Bernard Ng'etich and Lawrence Karanja sought orders stopping the ongoing recruitment until their petition challenging it is heard and determined/FILE
The Trusted Society of Human Rights Association through lawyers Bernard Ng’etich and Lawrence Karanja sought orders stopping the ongoing recruitment until their petition challenging it is heard and determined/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – A Civil Society Organisation on Friday moved to the Nakuru High Court to stop the ongoing recruitment of the next Chief Justice of Kenya, a deputy and a judge of the Supreme Court.

The Trusted Society of Human Rights Association through lawyers Bernard Ng’etich and Lawrence Karanja sought orders stopping the ongoing recruitment until their petition challenging it is heard and determined.

The association in its petition contends that the exercise by which applicants for the three posts were shortlisted for interviews was “turned into a theatre of absurdities” given it was “shrouded in secrecy” in a violation of the Constitution which they argue requires transparency in the filling of public offices.

The petitioner therefore wants the Judicial Service Commission, which it has sued, to present before the court minutes of the meetings at which it shortlisted the number of candidates for the post of Chief Justice from 14 to six; those for Deputy Chief Justice from 15 to 13 and those for Supreme Court Judge from 21 to 18.

Lady Justice Janet Mulwa certified the application for a halting of the recruitment process as urgent and directed that the CSO together with the respondents – JSC, Attorney General and the Law Society of Kenya – present themselves before Resident Judge Maurine Odero for an inter-partes hearing next week.

The JSC had told Capital FM News that it would not make public the grounds it disqualified candidates but would communicate directly to the applicants and they, should they wish, were free to make the reasons public.

READ: JSC won’t tell you why it knocked out CJ, DCJ applicants

This even after the Law Society of Kenya, which is represented in the JSC, wrote to it and advised that the best thing would be to make public the reasons it knocked out of the job race, those it did.

READ: Make criteria for shortlisting CJ applicants public, lawyers demand

They were joined in their sentiments by former JSC member and Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi. “14 candidates applied for CJ & only 6 are shortlisted for interviews..give me a break….is this 1988 mlolongo elections rigging ala KANU?,” he posed and added “Last time 12 candidates applied for CJ and all 12 were interviewed,” through his Twitter account.

Former Justice Minister Martha Karua was of the same mind: “JSC should account to Kenyans on their criteria for short listing candidates! Public have a right to know,” she tweeted as well.

On Thursday the JSC announced that it would commence interviews for the post of CJ, DCJ and a judge of the Supreme Court on August 29 in an exercise that will run to October 7.

READ: Interviews for top Judiciary jobs start August 29

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