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Prof. Patricia Kameri-Mbote appearing before the JSC for her interview for the position of Chief Justice/Judiciary Media Service

Kenya

Prof Mbote defends limited exposure in Judiciary, says teaching law an asset

Mbote highlighted her career path noting how she has trained judges and drafted government policies, specifically gender and environmental policies.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – The search for a new Chief Justice Tuesday entered the second day on Tuesday with Prof Patricia Mbote, a legal scholar and law lecturer, facing a nine-member Judiciary Service Commission panel led by Prof Olive Mugenda.

While explaining why she is best suited for the position, Mbote highlighted her career path noting how she has trained judges and drafted government policies, specifically gender and environmental policies.

“I have trained judges for many years since 2006, as an academic going through different aspects of law, if that is not law practice, then I don’t know what law is because you have to decipher nuggets for students, I do a lot of research and I am very widely published,” she told the panel.

Mbote noted that she has a deep understanding of law ranging from policy, regulations, and strategies having drafted various policies for the Kenyan government.

She further dismissed assertions on her inexperience on matters regarding the Judiciary as a  considering her extensive career in law academia compared to other candidates who have worked in the Judiciary.

Responding to a question by Justice Mohammed Warsame, Mbote said she will acquire other necessary skills on the job. Mbote said will not work independently but liaise with other members of the Judiciary in decision making.

“I haven’t worked in the judiciary but I think skills we get in different places are transferable when you talk about decision making, you don’t make decisions alone, there are other judges. I am not going to be the first person in the supreme court with no judiciary experience,” the law Professor said.

Prof Mbote noted that her strongest trait is that she can exude calmness under intense pressure something she noted is required of a Chief Justice.

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“I can be calm under intense temperature, that is good for a judge because you are going to hear a lot of things and you cant express your view just because people are throwing things at you,” she said.

she also fronted for negotiation and soft skills while dealing the constant disobedience of court orders by other levels of government.

“As a CJ, I would be concerned with this wanton disregard of court orders, I would talk to other arms of government to ensure rule of law is abided by everyone to avoid lawlessness in the country,” Mbote added.

She expressed discontent with the failure by the President to obey court orders saying she would seek an audience with the president to discuss the issue.

“I would approach the president to get this matter unstuck because it is not a good thing. In getting it unstuck, he will listen to these concerns and how do we get them appointed,” she said.

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