NAIROBI, Kenya. Feb 20 – Interviews seeking a candidate to fill the Deputy Chief Justice’s (DCJ) position came to a close on Wednesday morning, with Lucy Muthoni Kambuni being the last to face the panel.
Kambuni, who has a distinguished record in academia, the private and public sectors, appeared at ease giving sufficient responses to every question posed to her.
She also brought to the fore a glaring inconsistency in the Constitution surrounding the terms of service for the Deputy Chief Justice.
The 52-year-old noted that the law had not determined how long the DCJ should remain in office, even though it placed a 10 year cap on service for the Chief Justice.
“The term of the Chief Justice is time bound at 10 years but there is no provision like that for the DCJ. If you had a DCJ who is 40 years old, will we say that they will remain in that position for 30 years?” she posed, when asked if she had any question to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
“I think this is very untidy and it makes it difficult to determine how to deal with it,” she said.
She added that the matter would have to be resolved by a referendum given that it touched on the Judiciary but Chief Justice Willy Mutunga told her that the Supreme Court had mandated the JSC to handle the matter.
“The Supreme Court has actually given the commission the right to interpret that matter. So this commission can determine it and whoever is not happy with it can go to the nearest High Court,” he revealed.
Kambuni, who was the vice chairperson for the taskforce on devolution, was however put to task for delaying her tax returns.
She however explained that the matter had been resolved and she had been cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority.
“Can you explain to this panel why you seem to be notorious for delaying your tax returns? Why has this been a problem?” asked commissioner Samuel Kobia.
“I would say it’s oversight. I rely on my auditor to do the work but I work really hard to make sure that I comply and I have a tax clearance certificate,” she explained.
Kambuni, who also serves in the K-NICE programme, is still working on her PhD.
She promised to push for the refurbishment of judicial infrastructure and uphold high moral principles if she got the post.
Five women had been shortlisted for the position from a list of 18 applicants.
The interviews started on Monday and saw Phoebe Nyawade and Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal grilled. On Tuesday, Raychelle Omamo and Joyce Majiwa were also interviewed to gauge their suitability.