Lawyers to boycott ‘unfit’ judges

November 5, 2012 2:40 pm
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LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said the continued interference with the vetting process by the Judiciary was harming the spirit of the Constitution which empowered JMVB to vet judges and magistrates/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on Monday urged its members and the public not to appear before judges declared unfit by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board (JMVB).

LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said the continued interference with the vetting process by the Judiciary was harming the spirit of the Constitution which empowered JMVB to vet judges and magistrates.

“A judicial officer who has been determined unsuitable to continue serving is deemed to have been removed from service unless that decision is reviewed otherwise. For that reason, the public and the members are urged not to appear before such unsuitable judicial officers,” he advised.

Mutua further asked the public to question rulings and judgements made by such judges.

He said the lawyers’ society will on Wednesday wear yellow ribbons to protest ‘courts interference’ with the vetting process.

One of the measures LSK plans to undertake is petitioning Parliament to amend the constitution and introduce a requirement for all judges and magistrates to resign and re-apply for their jobs as originally stipulated in the Bomas draft constitution.

The current Constitution which was adopted in August 2010, replaced the Bomas proposal and provided for the establishment of the JMVB which is mandated to vet judges as one of the interventions taken to restore confidence in the Judiciary that was branded as corrupt and inefficient for many decades.

The LSK said it will on Wednesday be asking its 10,000 members to sign a petition and also appeal to the public to raise one million signatures required for a petition.

It announced that it will hold another meeting on December 8 to come up with a resolution on the steps it intends to take to deal with judicial interference with the work of the JMBV.

“The council of the Law Society is at the same time issuing a notice for an Extra Ordinary General Meeting of members to discuss and adopt various options to confront the actions of the Judiciary with respect to the vetting process,” Mutua asserted.

He appealed to all stakeholders to reject any attempts by the courts to interfere with the vetting process.

The move follows a court ruling that blocked the removal of judges declared unfit to hold office by the vetting board.

Mutua also announced that LSK will challenge the decision made on Friday that gave the court the jurisdiction to intervene and review decisions of the vetting board.

The High Court stopped the removal of Court of Appeal judges Riaga Omollo, Samuel Bosire, Joseph Nyamu and High Court judge Jeanne Gacheche after the vetting board declared them unfit to serve in the judiciary.

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