NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – An amendment to the Judicial Service Commission Act which gives President Uhuru Kenyatta powers to appoint the Chief Justice and Deputy CJ has been suspended.
Justice Isaac Lenaola at the same time restrained the JSC from commencing recruitment of top judicial officers set to replace CJ Willy Mutunga and Kalpana Rawal.
The temporary order, Justice Lenaola ruled, will remain in force pending hearing of a suit lodged by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on February 3 contesting the amendment.
The court will hear an application by parties whether the suit should be heard by a bench on February 12.
Parties in the matter have contended that the suit raises weighty constitutional issues that ought to be handled by more than one judge.
The lawyers’ umbrella body has gone to court arguing that the amended law is unconstitutional as it purports to give President Kenyatta powers that he does not have under the Constitution.
Through lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, it wants the law suspended on grounds that it usurps Article 166 of the Constitution.
LSK contends the law as amended interferes with the entire doctrine of the independence of the Judiciary and separation of powers as stipulated in the Constitution.
It is argued that the Senate was not involved in the passage of the amendment as required under the Constitution adding that there was no public participation.