NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – The Law Society Kenya says it has instructed senior counsel Nzamba Kitonga to petition the court over President Uhuru Kenyatta’s failure to approve the appointment of all 25 candidates recommended to him by the Judicial Service Commission for appointment as High Court Judges.
In a statement to media houses, LSK Chairman Eric Mutua and CEO Apollo Mboya said the President erred when he approved only 11 out of the 25 candidates recommended for appointment.
“The role of the President in the appointment of judges is ceremonial and the purported approval and/or disapproval of names of those recommended for appointment as Judges by the Judicial Service Commission is unconstitutional,” they stated., protesting that the appointments had taken five months since a recommendation was forwarded to State House.
They also took issue with the President’s failure to replace Professor Christine Mango, whose term ended in December, on the JSC accusing him of hampering the operations of the JSC and by extension undermining the rule of law in the country.
“The President has abdicated his constitutional duty in respect of appointment of the 25 judges and in replacing Prof Christine Mango, the lay person in the JSC,” they stated in a statement issued at the weekend.
They also demanded to know why there has been a delay in the gazettement of Justice Aggrey Muchelule and Professor Tom Ojienda to the JSC following the election held in November and February respectively.
And by failing to challenge what it says are the above breaches of law, the LSK accused the JSC of exhibiting “cowardice through a conspiracy of silence.”
Failures on the part of the president, they argued, that were not only illegal but irresponsible, and “the public has started witnessing an increase in case backlog in the judiciary.
This requires a multifaceted manner approach including the decentralization of courts, better case management and the increase in the number of judicial officers.”
President Kenyatta approved 11 out of the 25 candidates presented to him for appointment as High Court Judges on Friday.
A statement from State House said a decision for the approval of disapproval of the remaining 14 had not been made.