NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Supreme Court Judge Mohammed Ibrahim will now preside over the Supreme Court following the retirement of Willy Mutunga as Chief Justice Thursday afternoon.
It was in his position as the senior most judge of the Supreme Court citing the absence of a Deputy CJ, and as enshrined in the Supreme Court Act that Ibrahim was appointed to preside over the highest court in Kenya.
“I leave behind a versatile, confident and competent collective leadership in the institution which has confronted every challenge thrown its way with resolve and finality. Hon Justice Mohammed Ibrahim will preside over the Supreme Court pursuant to Section 6 (2) of Supreme Court Act,” he announced.
Kalpana Rawal who was the Deputy CJ and Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi retired on Wednesday after the Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court ruling that judges should retire at the age of 70.
While delivering his farewell speech at the Supreme Court, Dr Mutunga assured the country that there would be no crisis in the Judiciary.
“The Judiciary could not have been in a crisis when every court station in the country, including the Supreme Court, was sitting every day to do what the Judiciary is supposed to do – hear and determine disputes.”
According to Dr Mutunga, the Judiciary Leadership Advisory Council which comprises the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Paul Kihara, High Court Principal Judge Richard Mwongo and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi will manage the operations of all levels of courts in the country.
He was also content that the Judicial Service Commission would manage the transition of the judicial leadership to fill the vacant positions.
As he bid Kenyans goodbye, Dr Mutunga was proud that under his leadership, a lot had been achieved to transform the judiciary.
Apart from internal transformations to improve working conditions and terms of judicial officers, he lauded efforts he undertook to boost structural reforms that had seen the number of courts, judges and magistrates increase.
He was impressed that under his tenure, the backlog of cases – some as old as over 30 years – had as well reduced.
“This has been a wonderful journey, and as one leader said, the life of humanity or institutions, is one large story, and what each one of us tries to do, is to merely get our paragraph right. This is my paragraph – of a Judiciary more independent and more humane; one that has defended the Constitution and exponentially expanded access to justice,” he stated.