NAIROBI, Kenya June 9 – Chief Justice David Maraga is a frustrated man.
He told a news conference on Monday that he has unsuccessfully tried to secure an appointment with President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss the stalled appointment of 41 judges proposed by the Judicial Service Commission.
And he has accused the Executive of being notorious in disrespecting court orders, citing numerous instances in the recent past.
The Judges were recommended by JSC in July 2019 for appointment to the Court of Appeal, the Environment and Land Court and the Employment and Labor Relations Court formed the basis of Maraga’s frustrations.
“The President has persisted in this refusal despite orders in two cases requiring him to swear in these judges within 14 days,” he said.
The Head of State has been categorical that he will not approve the list of judges sent to him by the commission due to integrity issues, claims Maraga said he is not aware of.
“I have challenged the Executive to table before the JSC the alleged information of lack of integrity it has against some of the 41 nominees. Some of the individuals the Executive claims to have adverse information against are serving judges.”
And he added “If the Executive’s allegations are true, these persons should not, then, be serving Judges. However, no evidence whatsoever was availed to the JSC both during the interviewing process and after.”
Maraga lamented that the decision by the Head of State is to blame for the backlog of cases in court.
“If you file a land case in the Environment and Land Court at the Milimani Nairobi today, the earliest your case will be heard is in 2022,” he said.
Currently, there are 33 ELC Judges against a caseload of 16, 457 as at 31 March 2020.
At the Court of Appeal, he said, only 15 Judges are serving against a caseload of 7, 315 cases whereas in the Employment and Labor Relations Court only 12 Judges are operating against a caseload of 13, 197.
While assuring that his respect for the President was unwavering, Maraga urged him to not only talk the talk on upholding the Constitution but also walk it.
“Unfortunately, this disregard of court orders by the President is part of the pattern by the Executive,” he said.
Maraga last week protested an Executive Order by the President which he said undermines the independence of his office.