NAIROBI, Kenya, April – 28 – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said Tuesday it will proceed with planned interviews for individuals eyeing the position of the Supreme Court Judge after the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that had suspended the panel’s recruitment process.
In a statement, the commission’s Vice-Chair, Professor Olive Mugenda said the commission will commence the five-day interviews on Monday.
The commission released a schedule showing that it will start with Justice Chitembwe Said Juma and Martha Koome. It was not immediately clear if Koome will still attend the interview since she has been nominated for appointment as Chief Justice.
Justices Marethe Njagi and M’inoti Kathurima will appear before the commission on Tuesday while Justice Mathews Nderi and Dr Patrick Lumumba will face the nine-member panel on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Justices William Ouko and Joseph Kiplagat Sergon will be interviewed by the panel which will complete the interviews on Friday with Lawyer Alice Yano.
In the ruling issued by Justice Patrick Kiage on Tuesday, the Appealate court granted permission to JSC to proceed with the interviews for selecting one Supreme Court Judge and score the nominee for CJ.
“The conservatory orders granted by the High Court barring the continuation of the recruitment process for the Chief Justice and commencement of the process of appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court be and are hereby stayed pending the hearing and determination of the intended appeals,” he said, in the ruling by the bench that included judges Roselyne Nambuye and Sankale Ole Kantai.
Three petitioners had moved to court to challenge the constitutionality of the process that saw JSC interview 10 candidates who were shortlisted for the position of Chief Justice.
Consequently, High Court Judges Anthony Mrima, Wifrida Okwany and Reuben Nyakundi issued orders barring the JSC from scoring the candidates who were interviewed for the position of Chief Justice pending the hearing and determination of the case.
And following the ruling was made, JSC nominated Court of Appeal Judge Martha Koome for the position of Chief Justice to replace David Maraga.
Mugenda said the commission had already sent Koome’s name to President Uhuru Kenyatta for formal appointment.
“After lengthy deliberations and careful considerations of the performance of the various candidates, the JSC has unanimously recommended the appointment of honourable Lady Justice Martha Koome, judge of the Court of Appeal as the Chief Justice of Kenya and has submitted her name to the President of Kenya for appointment,” Prof Mugenda told a news conference.
Koome was interviewed alongside Justices Said Chitembwe, Nduma Nderi, David Marete and William Ouko as well as lawyers Fred Ngatia, Alice Yano and Philip Murgor, Prof Patricia Mbote and Prof Wekesa Moni