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April 16, 2021 | Philip Murgor, S.C. appearing before the JSC for his interview for the position of Chief Justice/Judiciary Media Service

Kenya

Murgor: Judiciary irredeemable without fresh blood

The Senior Counsel made the remarks during an interview by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which entered the fifth day in search of the next Chief Justice of Kenya, the third under the 2010 constitution

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 16 – External intervention is required to expedite reforms in the Judiciary, Chief Justice hopeful Philip Murgor said on Friday.

The Senior Counsel made the remarks during an interview by the Judicial Service  Commission (JSC) which entered the fifth day in search of the next Chief Justice  of Kenya, the third under the 2010 constitution

Responding to questions by Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu,  Murgor said the Judiciary needs external intervention to address some of the challenges saying it was unlikely that internal forces can resolve the crisis in the judiciary.

“It is unlikely that anyone in the ship called Judiciary can get  the ship to move on, the administration in Judiciary, whatever means that they have engaged have not resolved the problems that has led to the crisis in the Judiciary,” the lawyer responded.

If appointed the next  Chief Justice, Murgor said he would prioritize enhancing the effectiveness for delivery of services to Kenyans which he said is the main challenge facing the judiciary.

He blamed it on failure to appoint the 41 judges and under-funding of courts further saying that the Judiciary administration including JSC had failed to address various challenges in the sector.

“From where I sit as an advocate, I can see that there has been a slowdown in the delivery of services to the public, and that problem has featured in every conversation in the last year and it is on account of failure to appoint the 41 judges and cut back in the budget,” the Senior Counsel said.

Murgor also clashed with Mwilu over the latter’s position with Murgor insisting that Mwilu is an Acting Chief Justice meaning the office is vacant as there is no substantive office holder.

He said that he was in no way disrespecting Mwilu as Acting CJ but only stating a fact.

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“Today’s problems – to me – appear different; they indicate a situation where there is no chief justice,” Murgor said.

“My solution; if I were appointed as the Chief Justice, is to be a CJ who has a walk-around leadership,” he added while responding to Mwilu.

The JSC Thursday declined Murgor’s bid to have Mwilu recuse herself from the CJ interviewing panel saying there was no basis to remove Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu from the recruitment panel.

Murgor had cited a client-advocate relationship between Mwilu and another CJ candidate, lawyer Fred Ngatia, who represented her in 2012 when she was being vetted by the JSC.

“The commission in its meeting of April 9, deliberated on your request and having noted the provisions of Section 44 of the Judicial Service Act observed that the relationship between LADY Justice Mwilu and the two advocates was not personal but of a professional nature,” Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amado, who is also the commission’s Secretary, stated.

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