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April 15, 2021 | Justice Marete D. K. Njagi appearing before the JSC for his interview for the position of Chief Justice/Judiciary Media Service

Kenya

Labour court judge Njagi Marete faces CJ recruitment panel

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Justice David Marete was the fourth candidate to face the Judiciary Service Commission on Thursday as interviews for the country’s next Chief Justice entered the fourth day.

Appearing before the Olive Mugenda-led panel,  Marete who has 35 years of legal experience noted that if appointed the next CJ, he will immediately address the backlog cases in the next three years.

“I will be able to clear this backlog in three years if everybody in the Judiciary looks at the issues Kenyans have and have the desire to address them, that is possible and I will be able to do that,” he told the panel.

Marete said he will be accountable to Kenyans

The judge, who currently serves in the Emplyment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC), singed out inadequate staffing and poor motivation among challenges facing the judiciary.

“I work with everyone from standpoint of equality, teach, listen and consult with all judiciary workers and listen to their concerns,” the 62-year-old who was admitted to the roll of advocates in 1985 after graduating from Kenya School of Law said.

He said Kenya deserves a good justice system which will be achieved when all  cases are heard fairly and within the stipulated  timelines.

“I have achieved that, everybody who leaves my court leaves happy. If you sell this to workers of Judiciary and Kenyans are contented,” Justice Marete said.

He described himself as a daring leader and one who is focused and able to work with various kinds of people.

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“My hallmark is good leadership, I am very capable of this assessment. Daring is my other name, there is nothing which shakes me, this office requires one who doesn’t antagonize anyone, able to work with everybody and resist anybody who fools around with the office and entire establishment,” the judge added.

He previously served as State Counsel in the Attorney General’s office for 15 years where he rose to the rank of principal state counsel.

From the State Law Office, Marete joined the Teachers Service Commission in 2003 as a senior principal legal officer until 2009 when he shifted to Africa Nazarene University as a law lecturer, then to ELRC division in 2012.

In 2012, Justice Marete was among the first judges to be appointed to the newly created Employment and Labour Relations Court under the 2010 Constitution.

Justice Marete handled some of the most contested and high profile labour disputes that led to his suspension for nearly five months after he was accused of misconduct, impropriety, conflict of interest and breach of judicial code of conduct.

He is remembered for coming to the rescue of civil servants seeking elective positions in 2017 when he declared election laws, which required them to resign six months before the election, invalid and unconstitutional.

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