, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – The Judicial Service Commission has now moved to court to challenge the suspension of six commissioners and formation of a tribunal to probe their conduct.
In a suit filed on Monday afternoon, the JSC argues that the action is illegal and wants the commissioners reinstated.
The six commissioners were suspended after President Uhuru Kenyatta formed a tribunal to investigate them, following a petition that was passed by the National Assembly.
JSC lawyer Paul Muite argued that there was no constitutional basis for their suspension or appointment of the tribunal.
He says the Attorney General and Speaker of the National Assembly were served with two court orders on October 30 stopping the departmental committee on Justice and Legal Affairs from deliberating the petition filed by Nicholas Mugambi.
Muite argued the resolution of Parliament is null and void having been made in defiance and disobedience of a court order.
“In wilful disobedience of the court order, the departmental committee proceeded to deliberate the petition and presented the report to the National Assembly,” he submitted.
The JSC has also sought permission of the court to enjoin Aaron Ringera, Jenifer Shamalla, Ambrose Weda and Mutua Kilaka – who are members of the tribunal – as respondents in the petition.
They want the court to suspend the gazette notice appointing them as members of the tribunal to investigate the conduct of the six JSC commissioners.
The commission contends unless the suspension of the six is frozen, it will cripple its operations and by extension the efficient working of the Judiciary.
Muite say the JSC has the constitutional duty and obligation of promoting and facilitating the independence of the Judiciary and the effective and transparent administration of justice.
Those suspended are Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Justice Mohammed Warsame, Professor Christine Mango, Florence Mwangangi, Emily Ominde and Reverend Samuel Kobia.
There have been mixed reactions over formation of the tribunal, with opposition leaders accusing President Kenyatta of violating the Constitution.
CORD leader Raila Odinga, the Law Society of Kenya and the civil society have condemned the action, terming it an affront to the independence of the Judiciary.
Jubilee leaders – including Deputy President William Ruto have however told off the critics and advised them to read and understand the Constitution.
They argue President Kenyatta was bound by the law to appoint the tribunal and suspend the six JSC commissioners.