, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero will on Friday attempt to persuade the Judicial Service Commission to ‘give a little to get a little’ from Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and suspended Supreme Court judge Philip Tunoi who have fought retirement at 70 all the way from the High Court to the highest court in the land on which they sat up until a few months ago.
Attempts at convincing their legal representatives and Secretary Anne Amadi to join the mediation table at which Rawal and Tunoi already sit, failed on first attempt on Thursday leading the Society to seek, “personal engagement,” with all the members of the JSC to resolve what they said were, “one or two sticking points.”
The Supreme Court granted the prayer with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, as Chairman of the JSC, committing to setting up a meeting for Friday afternoon. “We resume on Monday at 2.30 to either receive a settlement or to hear the applications,” he added.
But John Khaminwa, acting as a friend of the court on behalf of Kituo cha Sheria, strenuously opposed the meeting saying it effectively demolished the Chinese wall that stood between the judicial and administrative undertakings of the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judge Smokin Wanjala who are both members of the JSC.
“That we should have judges sitting, hearing a matter in open court and then the same judges again go and retire and meet some of the parties to negotiate is untidy. I’m inviting your lordship very respectfully that you decline the invitation.”
He said the stances already taken by JSC’s legal representatives Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Paul Muite and Charles Kanjama revealed the LSK’s efforts at mediation to be a, “a waste of time.”
“It is almost impossible to get an agreement when you have my learned friend Ahmednasir, Paul Muite and Kanjama. You have heard the words and the tone in which Ahmednasir has said… he doesn’t want to see Justice Rawal as the Acting Chief Justice.”
Khaminwa opposed the idea of resolving the matter out of court right from the onset saying it would only act as a stop gap measure as it didn’t stop any of the 40 other judges appointed to the bench prior to the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010 from challenging the Court of Appeal finding that they should retire at 70 as stated in the Constitution and not at 74 which was the retirement age when they took up office.
Chief Justice Mutunga was however adamant that the meeting between the JSC, with himself as Chair, and the LSK would go forward shutting down any further protests.
“We don’t want to be very colonial about this. ‘Just rise up and shut up everybody.’ We don’t want to do that. We’ve given an order. Why is it being opened up?”