By Moses Njagih
The ability of a candidate to dispense primary judicial duties were brought to question by the committee recruiting the heads of the Judiciary.
The Commissioners noted that the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer with the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Gladys Sholei had good credentials in information technology, having spearheaded the electronic law reporting, but argued they were secondary credentials to the position of a judicial officer.
"I hope you are aware we are not recruiting for an IT company, and just for your information, we will employ a Director of Information Technology for Judiciary," remarked Commissioner Abdulahi Ahmednasir. Interim Independent Electoral Commission Deputy CEO Gladys Sholei during her interview by the Judicial Service Commission for the position of deputy Chief Justice in Nairobi, Wednesday. [PHOTO: ANDREW KILONZI/STANDARD]
Interim Independent Electoral Commission Deputy CEO Gladys Sholei during her interview by the Judicial Service Commission for the position of deputy Chief Justice in Nairobi, Wednesday. [PHOTO: ANDREW KILONZI/STANDARD]
The commission said that while it appreciated that the candidate held impressive academic credentials, her experience was more inclined to administrative duties and not the primary core of judicial staff.
Sholei, who holds a Bachelors degree in law, a Masters degree in the same field and another master’s degree in management, had relied largely on her experience at the National Council of Law Reporting, where she was hailed as having done a good work of reviewing judgements and reporting in Kenya Law Report.
Ahmednasir said: "Your background is excellent, but it is not our core business. From your CV, apart from that secondary aspect of improving the Judiciary in terms of information technology, I don’t find any primary attribute in you yet. As the Deputy Chief Justice, you will also be serving in the Supreme Court."
"I agree some of these functions are secondary, but it is lack of them that has caused the problems we are now facing in the Judiciary. If we are only focused on primary functions we would not be calling for reforms in the Judiciary," said Sholei.
Ahmednasir: We do not want to gamble with you or with any candidate for such a serious position. Where can we find substance, legal theory and know-how that you are the right person? Or do we take a leap of faith in you?
Sholei: You will not be taking a leap of faith in me. The fact that you advertised these positions outside those already serving in the Judiciary shows you knew that someone could be out there with capabilities. I agree we must never lose our primary business, but we will have to employ people with secondary attributes whether we like it or not, if we are to excel.
Sholei defended her quest for the position saying even when she was being engaged at her current position in the electoral body, she was not equipped with the basics of elections conduct.
She said having taught law at the University of Nairobi for five years, she was equipped to dispense the duties bestowed upon the position she was seeking.
But Ahmednasir argued: "For the five years you were teaching law, we do not find any article that was published under your name which we can even use to gauge your judicial philosophy".
Attorney General Amos Wako asked the candidate why, with her impressive credentials in administrative matters, she would not have considered going for other positions in the Judiciary.
Prof Christine Mango noted that for a "relatively" short period of 17 years since she graduated with a bachelor’s degree, Sholei had worked with six organisations.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Chairman of the Public Service Commission Titus Gateere, who is also chairing the recruiting panel for Deputy Chief Justice.
The latter observed that the electoral body could still be in need of the candidate given that it was still in its formative stages.