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Erastus Githinji is new Appeals court head

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Justice Erastus Githinji has been elected acting President of the Court of Appeal to replace Justice Riaga Omolo who was sent home by the vetting board last week.

Justice Githinji was elected unanimously by his fellow Appellate judges to take over leadership of the court, according to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

“In the interim, the judges have elected one from among their number as the acting President of the Court of Appeal in order to expedite the many urgent administrative matters that have surfaced thus far. I wish Justice Githinji well in his duties,” Mutunga asserted.

Justice Omolo was sent home alongside appellate judges Samuel Bosire, Emmanuel O’kubasu and Joseph Nyamu.

Speaking when receiving the report on the vetting process by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, Mutunga said the sacked judges had left behind 109 cases whose judgments they were yet to deliver.

Mutunga said 30 of the judgments had been written and duly signed and will be delivered in due course.

The CJ noted that 47 judgments in cases already concluded where only one of the affected judges sat will still be delivered.

Unfortunately hearings of 32 cases will have to start afresh. However, he pledged that the Judiciary will ensure the smooth running of the work despite the ongoing judicial surgery.

He once again told Kenyans that measures had been put in place to mitigate any implications on the work of the Judiciary.

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“My expectation is that the Acting President of the Court of Appeal shall reconstitute panels to deal with the 234 cases scheduled to be heard at the Court of Appeal in May, 2012. The effect of this is that only 114 cases will be heard in May, representing a 50 percent scale-down,” Mutunga explained.

In the meantime, Mutunga said he will be meeting the four judges to address matters of their retirement.

“I assure Kenyans that I will not allow our departing colleagues to be stepped on while they are down. The indignity visited on judges and magistrates in the so-called radical surgery of 2003 will not be repeated: not on my watch. The lesson we must follow is that as Kenyans, notwithstanding our misgivings, those who have served our country deserve to be so recognised and respected,” he said.


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