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Nominees for CJ, deputy out Friday

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will on Friday morning reveal nominees for the post of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice.

Speaking on Thursday after the panel completed interviews for post of Deputy Chief Justice, Commissioner Titus Gatere told the media that the panel would sit on Friday morning to come up with their final list.

"Tomorrow (Friday) latest midday, this commission will announce the names of those nominated for Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice; obviously we have not had time to deliberate on some of those issues and arrive at a decision," he said.

The JSC was expected to pick three successful nominees for each post and forward them to the President who will in turn pick two nominees in consultation with the Prime Minister.

The names will then be taken to Parliament for scrutiny and be returned to the appointing authority which will then announce the new Chief Justice and the deputy.

Appellate Judges Paul Kihara Kariuki, Joseph Nyamu and Alnashir Visram are among those whom insiders say are favourites for the job of Chief Justice.  Dr Willy Mutunga has also been widely speculated to become the next CJ.

On Thursday, the JSC completed the search for the deputy Chief Justice after the appearance of Justice Hannah Okwengu and lawyer Nancy Baraza.

Justice Okwengu who appeared in the afternoon was questioned over her personal traits of being temperamental.

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"They say you are very bad tempered and that sometimes you are openly rude," posed Commissioner Florence Mwangangi.

In her defence, Justice Okwengu said she was tough to ensure that the law was followed agreeing that her temper was \’righteous anger.\’

She also said it was human to get angry explaining that she got agitated due to frustration of delayed cases or lack of justice.

"I don\’t think I am rude, I have never been rude to anybody. I am human and sometimes I am pushed to the limit. I lash out when frustrated when justice is not done, I have lashed at the Attorney General\’s officers… because justice is delayed and I cannot stand that," she charged.

On the other hand there were positive public comments, "They say you have a good legal mind, reduced backlog where you have worked, you are experienced, and you are humbled but firm. "

Justice Okwengu was admitted as an advocate of the High Court in 1980 after graduating with a law Degree from the University of Nairobi in 1978.

She became the deputy Director of the then Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority in 1999.

Should she become the deputy Chief Justice, she pledged to introduce a system of change in management to improve judicial services.

She also said she would advocate for extensive interaction with other judiciaries in order to emulate good practices that can be implemented to improve the Kenyan Judiciary.

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Justice Okwengu was among six candidates who were interviewed for the position of the deputy Chief Justice including Lady Justices Roselyn Nambuye, Mary Kasango and Martha Koome.

Others were lawyers Nancy Baraza and Gladys Boss Shollei.

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