NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – A day after Judicial Service Commission nominated High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola for appointment as Supreme Court Judge, the Gender and Equality Commission has moved to court stop his swearing in and subsequent gazettement.
High Court Judge Joseph Onguto certified the case as urgent but declined to issues orders stopping the appointment and gazetting of Justice Lenaola as a Supreme Court judge.
Through its lawyer Sylvester Mbithi Muli, the Commission wants the High Court to determine whether the nomination of a fifth man to a seven judge Supreme Court violates the gender rule.
“The JSC has acted unequally by failing to give equal opportunities to men and women for appointment to serve as Supreme Court judges in violation of the Constitution”.
By nominating judge Lenaola to the last and seventh spot in the Supreme Court, the Commission says not only violates the rights of women to equal representation but also leads to a situation where representation of women falls far below the minimum one third constitutional threshold.
Consequently, they want the decision to nominate Judge Lenaola quashed and nullified and an order prohibiting the Attorney General from forwarding his name to the President for appointment.
In a sworn affidavit, Commission Chairperson Wilfred Osimbo, said the Commission wants the court to declare that failure by JSC to implement the representation of women in the Supreme Court towards nearly half or 3-4 is unconstitutional
The Commission claims that on July 15th this year, it wrote an advisory opinion to the JSC on the gender issue through its secretary and the Chief Registrar Anne Amadi.
His nomination brought to an end the JSC’s process to replace three positions that were left vacant after the former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga went on early retirement while the former Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal and Justice Philip Tunoi were forced to retire after attaining the age of 70.
The Gender Commission’s case will be heard next week on Wednesday.