NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – A petition has been lodged with the National Assembly challenging the nomination of Justice David Maraga as Kenya’s next Chief Justice.
In the petition received by Clerk of the National Assembly Justin Bundi, the petitioner (whose identity has yet to disclosed) cites gross backlog of cases created by Justice Maraga in Eldoret as the main reason for challenging the nomination.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi will on Wednesday formally inform the House of the admissibility of the petition and then refer it to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
The Samuel Chepkonga-led House team is scheduled to conduct a vetting hearing of the CJ nominee on Thursday before making its recommendations to the House on his suitability to be the head of the Judiciary and President of the Supreme Court.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on September 22 nominated Maraga take over from Willy Mutunga, who retired in June.
He will assume office with immediate effect if approved by the National Assembly.
Justice Maraga beat 12 other applicants who sought to serve as Chief Justice.
When he appeared before the JSC Panel on August 31 as the third applicant, the Kisumu-based Court of Appeal judge pledged to crash Judiciary cartels and appoint a senior judge as an ombudsman in his first year at the helm.
He also promised to clear backlog of cases and ensure poor Kenyans appearing in courts get access to lawyers under the Legal Aid Act.
The University of Nairobi graduate had prior to his appointment as a High Court judge in 2003, worked as a lawyer for 25 years. He was promoted to Court of Appeal in 2011.
He told the JSC panel that he would introduce several reforms to tame cartels and corruption at the Judiciary, including the setting up an email address through which the public would raise complaints against judges and magistrates.
Justice Maraga 65, said the Supreme Court, under his stewardship would only handle presidential election petitions, allowing the Court of Appeal to retain the final authority on gubernatorial, senatorial, parliamentary and ward poll disputes.