Lawyers plan protest over Kibaki nominees

February 1, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Members of the legal fraternity are planning to hold street protests on Thursday to voice their opposition to the ‘faulty’ process followed to nominate key judiciary officials named by President Mwai Kibaki.

Representatives of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) said they will march to Parliament to present a petition to Speaker Kenneth Marende not to table or discuss the list nominees.

LSK Council member Lilian Rene Omondi who read a statement on behalf of the three organizations said they have no problem with the individuals nominated but are only opposed to the process the President followed in naming them.

“We therefore, reiterate that the nominations by the President are invalid abinitio,” She said. “For this reasons, we advise that debate and approval of the nominees by Parliament be regarded as premature and unconstitutional.”

They accused President Kibaki of perpetuating impunity by “purporting to nominate key officials to the Judiciary without following the due process.”

“The new constitutional dispensation does away with the culture of rewarding cronyism and opacity of executive authority in secrecy, without public participation that leads to the eventual imposition of leaders,” she added.

ICJ’s Executive Director George Kegoro reminded President Kibaki that he is ruling under a contested legitimacy “and should therefore respect his coalition partner.”

“The President should know that his legitimacy is contested and the existence of the coalition government was meant to address that contention. He has no choice but to respect the rules of engagement in the coalition,” Mr Kegoro said.

“It raises fundamental questions when the President says he consulted and the Prime Minister says there were no consultations,” he added.

Mr Kegoro revealed that they will be moving to court to try to block the nominations from going through.

President Kibaki on Friday nominated Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram to head Kenya\’s Judiciary and Professor Githu Muigai as his pick for the next Attorney General, while lawyer Kioko Kilukumi is listed as the country\’s new Director of Public Prosecutions.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service said the appointments had been made after consultations with the Prime Minister and in accordance with the Constitution, but Mr Odinga has insisted he was not involved.

Among the actions listed by the legal fraternity members is to ensure Parliament does not discuss the list of the nominees.

They also want President Mwai Kibaki to embark on a lawful process of fresh nominations to end the current row which is threatening to lead to a constitutional crisis.

“We also want the persons nominated to renounce those nominations as they are unconstitutional.”
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