NAIROBI, Kenya, September 26 – The interviews for the post of Deputy Chief Justice commenced Monday morning with High Court judge Abida Ali Aroni who appeared first before the Judicial Service Commission Panel stating that she will do her part in reducing the case backlog and corruption within the Judiciary.
Aroni pointed out areas where she showed zero tolerance to corruption and left no room for anyone to approach and compromise her as a judge.
She stated that she will also strive to counter the perceptions that hound the Judiciary by putting in place systems to make it effective and efficient.
“Most judicial officers are honest and what we are grappling with is the perception of corruption. That is not to say that there are no corrupt elements within us. So I have carried myself in a way that I cannot create the perception that anyone can attempt compromise me,” she explained.
“As a lawyer, I never attempted to corrupt a judicial officer neither did a judicial officer approach me to compromise them. I have also led a straight forward life full of integrity as a lawyer discharging my duties with dignity.”
She further indicated that she was ready and open to undertake any assignment given by the Chief Justice to make Judiciary an institution of excellence.
“I am a person who would strictly confine myself to the delegated duties that have been assigned to me. I am an effective and efficient person in the sense that once the Chief Justice gives me work to do, I would efficiently and effectively deal with the matter. I am hardworking,” she said.
Aroni further indicated that the number of Supreme Court judges should increased to handle the rising number of cases within the Judiciary and address backlog.
She however told the JSC that the mandate of the court should not be expanded.
She further emphasized the need for political goodwill especially in the implementation of the two third gender principle within the governmental departments.
“What comes to mind is probably the number of the Supreme Court Judges. I tend to feel that it would be wise to add to the numbers for the following reasons. First recusals are a little difficult given the numbers that we have. In the situation where a judge is absent like currently, the court is not functional,” she stated.
She pointed out that an integrated ICT system will be advantageous in reducing the case backlog as recording will be in real time as opposed to the current system where judges make notes of proceedings.
She also told the panel that she is best suited for the post of Deputy Chief Justice as she has the qualifications and experience to handle the post.
“I would want to bring my experience outside and within the Judiciary in terms of bringing in collegiality within the Supreme Court, fostering team work,” she stated.
Sixteen candidates are seeking to succeed retired Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal and the interviews will continue Monday afternoon with Appellate Judge Agnes Murgor on the hot seat.
Court of Appeal Judges Fatuma Sichale and Hannah Okwengu will be interviewed Tuesday while lawyer Joyce Majiwa and Justice Lydia Achode will have their day on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Lady Justice Martha Koome and former commissioner with the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya Pamela Tutui take up the challenge.
The interviews are set to take two weeks.