NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1 – The government has denied reports that due process was not followed in the appointment of former Constitutional Implementation Committee Chairperson, Charles Nyachae, to a regional court.
According to Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community (EAC) and Northern Corridor Development, Peter Munya, Nyachae’s appointment as a judge of East African Court of Justice was primarily the prerogative of President Uhuru Kenyatta and thus the input of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was not needed.
“JSC manages, appoints, and oversees judges working in the Republic of Kenya. That is what the Constitution provides. They have no role in international relations,” he said on Thursday.
Munya who spoke after officially taking over as the head of the ministry from his predecessor Phyllis Kandie insisted that Nyachae, being a seasoned legal practitioner, met the threshold for appointment to the court.
“Article 43 (2) of the EAC Treaty expressly say that a judge of the regional court shall neither hold any political office or any other office in the service of a partner State. It further prohibits judges of the court from engaging in any trade that is likely to cause a conflict of interest,” he said.
Munya further said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could not have considered a sitting judge in the country since such a move would amount to the violation of not only the EAC treaty but the Constitution of Kenya.
The former Meru Governor explained that in the event a Kenya judge was picked to fill the EAC slot, they would have to resign.
“It is important to point out that even our own Constitution says you cannot hold two public offices,” Munya told a news conference at the ministry headquarters.
Nyachae was sworn in as judge of the regional court on Friday last week during the EAC Heads of States summit.
He will assume office on July 1.
The court which is established under Article 9 of the EAC Treaty has a primary mandate to determine disputes arising from the interpretation and application of the Treaty.
It can also hear disputes between member states if such a dispute is submitted to the court under a mutual agreement.
The appointment of Nyachae to the court had elicited varied reactions with critics of President Uhuru Kenyatta terming it as a reward for the political support the appointee gave the Head of State during last year’s presidential election.
Munya defended Nyachae as an experienced lawyer.
“The person who was appointed is a jurist of many years of experience – the law only requires 10 years,” he said.
“He’s held so many positions in this country and therefore he will serve this country and the region very effectively,” Munya stated.