NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will be compelled to begin recruitment of a Chief Justice within six months before the incumbent’s term ends if a draft bill proposed by the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs becomes law.
In his memorandum, the Committee Chairman Kigano Muturi argues that the bill seeks to codify the best practice that crucial offices such as that of the CJ or Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should not remain vacant for a long period.
Article 167 of the Constitution provides that the holder of the office of the Chief Justice should serve a non-renewable 10-year term but must retire on attaining the age of 70 years or whichever comes first.
“In light of the cited constitutional provisions, it is apparent that the Judicial Service Commission can foresee the arising of a vacancy in the Office of the Chief Justice and commence the recruitment process before the date of the actual occurrence of the vacancy,” he stated.
Chief Justice David Maraga is for instance expected to vacate office by January 12, 2021 on attaining the retirement age.
The Kigano Bill comes at a time when there is a looming showdown in the JSC over the succession of Maraga.