Lawyers oppose deal to name CJ

October 22, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Lawyers\’ organisations have opposed a reported trade-off between coalition partners ODM and PNU in the appointment of the new Chief justice and Attorney General.

The International Commission of Jurists and FIDA Kenya say the political deal in sharing top positions in the justice system is against the spirit of transparency and public participation, which amounts to corruption.

"We will reject whoever they appoint this way," said ICJ Executive Director George Kegoro in a press conference.

"If they appoint a CJ that does not meet public expectations or through a process that does not meet public expectations then that will fail," he added.

He gave the example of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission which has almost been brought down by the credibility queries surrounding Chairman Bethuel Kiplagat.

"You can all see what has happened to the TJRC," he said.

According to the reports in the media, the Party of National Unity will propose the new CJ and the Director of Public prosecutions, while the Orange Democratic Movement will nominate the next Attorney General and the deputy CJ.

Mr Kegoro said the trade off plan would further erode public trust in the system the new appointments seek to address.

He said the organisations have some proposed criteria on and how the appointments should be done and some preferred names but were waiting for an invitation from the Executive.

"If they want our view on who to appoint and who not to appoint they should call us to a predetermined forum to discuss our views," he said.

Mr Kegoro called for a democratic process that passes the test of accountability and public consultations.

"We have suggested to the government that it should have an all inclusive framework in appointing the next Chief Justice.  We even have some selected names but we are waiting for a predetermined plan by the government."

FIDA Kenya Executive Director Grace Maingi says the organisations would use all legal and civil means to ensure that the appointments were done transparently and given to deserving persons.

"We have never benefited from such deals in the past. When we have a chance to reform the judiciary we will not accept these deals," said Ms Maingi and added: "Judicial reforms cannot remain been shrouded in secrecy and power sharing deals."


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