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10 to be interviewed for CJ position

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – The Judicial Service Commission has cleared 10 candidates including four Court of Appeal Judges for interviews for the position of the Chief Justice.

Court of Appeal Judges Riaga Omollo, Samwel Bosire, Alnashir Visram and Joseph Nyamu have been short-listed for interviews scheduled for May 3 until May 12.

Also selected for the interviews are High Court Judges Mbogholi Msagha, Mary Angawa, Kalpana Rawal and Kihara Kariuki. Others are lawyers Lee Muthoga and Dr Willy Mutunga.

The Commission had received applications from 12 candidates and dropped the names of Isaac Azania Bryant and Edward Torgbor of Ghana.

The JSC at the same time gave the nod to eight judges and lawyers to be interviewed for the post of Deputy Chief Justice.  Among those whose names were dropped for deputy CJ included that of High Court Judges William Ouko and Nicholas Ombija.

Applicants for the office of CJ and deputy should have high moral conduct in both their personal and public lives.

Applicants for both positions are required to have "a high moral character, integrity and impartiality" according to a JSC advert of March 4.

Part of the requirements for the applicants to get the jobs includes their contributions to the service to the public and community besides academic qualifications.

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The CJ will head the Judiciary; preside over the yet to be instituted Supreme Court, convene and chair the JSC meetings and be the link between the Judiciary and other arms of government.

The CJ will also assign duties to his or her deputy, to the President of the Court of Appeal, the Principal Judge of the High Court and the Registrar of the Judiciary.

Other duties include giving an annual report on the state of the Judiciary and the administration of Justice in the nation, exercising general direction and control over the Judiciary.

He or she will also chair the National Council on Administration of Justice, oversee the management and administration of the Judiciary Fund and discharging of any other functions as required by the laws of Kenya.

The public\’s representative to the Judicial Service Commission, Kitui Catholic Bishop Anthony Muheria, has in the meantime resigned barely five months after he was appointed, citing conflict of interest.

The move came at a time when the commission is in the process of selecting a new Chief Justice.

Speaking to reporters, Bishop  Muheria said he couldn\’t continue dispensing his duties at the commission effectively and at the same time work for the clergy.

"After familiarising myself and understanding better the role, responsibilities and functions of the Judicial Service Commission, and after reflection and wide consultations guided by the norms that assist shepherds and bishops in the Catholic church, I have reached the decision that the exercise of this noble task may be pre-judicial to some of the tasks I have as a bishop," he explained.

He however affirmed his commitment to the reform process which he pledged to support at all times.

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"I wish more sincerely to thank my colleagues and members of the Judicial Service Commission with whom I have had a successful working relationship. I am sincerely humbled by their focus and dedication and I will continue to accompany them in my prayers as I have informed them," he said.

President Kibaki, in consultation with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, nominated Bishop Muheria in November last year.

The JSC was established to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice.

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