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Kibaki, PM to meet Tuesday on judicial nominees

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were due to hold a meeting on Tuesday morning at Harambee House to discuss the nominations for Chief Justice and Deputy CJ.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Friday nominated Dr Willy Mutunga for the position of Chief Justice and Nancy Baraza as Deputy Chief Justice.

After deliberation by the two principals, the nominees are to be forwarded to Parliament for approval. 

If cleared, the names will be taken back to the Head of State who will then announce the next Chief Justice and the deputy.

The law requires the President and the Prime Minister to consult before filling the two positions.

The two leaders are also expected to pick the Director of Public Prosecutions among three nominees whose names were forwarded to them on Monday. Those shortlisted for DPP are Keriako Tobiko, his Deputy Dorcas Oduor and lawyer Patrick Kiage.

The International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has in the meantime urged the President and the Prime Minister to support the JSC in its pursuit to bring changes that will entirely reform the judiciary.

ICPC Executive Director Ndung\’u Wainaina said he expected the two principals to endorse the choice of Dr Mutunga and Ms Baraza for the positions of the Chief Justice and the deputy.

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"We urge the President and the Prime Minister to unwavering support the JSC efforts in reforming and transforming the judiciary as it moves away from its past as an instrument of repression and epicentre of miscarriage of justice to one which stands clearly for the rule of law and the respect of human rights," he said.

He said JSC did transparent and competitive interviews that credited the two nominees as the best candidates.

He further criticised the National Churches Council of Kenya and politicians pointing fingers at the nominees saying the public was already satisfied with the choice.

Meanwhile interviews for the posts of Supreme Court judges will be conducted from June 6 to 14 according to an announcement by the JSC on Tuesday.

Some 25 applicants will be interviewed for the jobs.

Seven Court of Appeal judges who include Justices Philip Waki, Emanuel O\’kubasu, Philip Tunoi, Erastus Githinji, Riagal Omolo, Alnashir Visram and Joseph Nyamu are among the candidates.

Women upped their game with 10 of them having applied for the Supreme Court positions, but Ms Baraza has already been nominated to deputise the Chief Justice.

On Friday, JSC acting chairperson Prof Christine Mango said 56 people had applied to be part of the seven-member Supreme Court, which will be presided over by the Chief Justice and his deputy.

Some of the candidates who will be interviewed appeared before the JSC to be grilled for the position of Chief Justice and Deputy CJ.

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They include lady Justices Kalpana Rawal and Mary Ang\’awa who have also been shortlisted for the highest court in the land.

Other notable candidates for the post are Justices Muga Apondi, Hannah Okwengu and Martha Koome. Lawyers Njoki Ndung\’u and Dr Smokin Wanjala also made it to the list.

The JSC once has again invited members of the public to write their views and questions about the 25 candidates.

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