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Profile of judges who will hear case seeking nullification of repressive media laws

By D Ohito | Published Tue, February 25th 2014 at 00:00, Updated February 25th 2014 at 11:59 GMT +3

LADY JUSTICE MUMBI NGUGI

Has a background in human rights and has made significant decisions. Is lauded for contribution to progressive jurisprudence. She holds a Law degree from University of Nairobi and a Masters degree from London School of Economics and Political Science.

She defied the odds to become the first judge with albinism in Kenya and perhaps the only one in Africa and the world. Today she is a beacon of hope and determination for persons living with albinism.

She was named Jurist of the Year 2013 by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya and Brand Kenya Ambassador 2013 in recognition of the qualities that positively contribute to the image and reputation of the country.

Admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya in 1988, she began with a career in private practice, as a legal assistant both in Nairobi and Mombasa, before joining the office of the Attorney General as a State Counsel in the Department of the Official Receiver. She later served as a company secretary with a leading insurance firm.

 The judge was part of the bench that survived the political pressure in finding that Ms Kilonzo’s nomination to run for the Makuni seat was invalid. Kethi had challenged the refusal by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to grant her a nomination for the seat.

She nullified the appointment of County Commissioners by former President Mwai Kibaki, arguing he did not have power to appoint or deploy persons as County Commissioners. She further contended that if he had such powers under the Constitution, then he was required by the provisions of Section 29(2) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to consult the Prime Minister and to seek the approval of the National Assembly before making the appointments.

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In the Mumo Matemu case, she upheld provisions of Chapter 6 of the Constitution, ruling that Parliament does not have a blank cheque when approving nominations for public office.

She awarded damages of  Sh40 million to a group of Muslims who had been rendered to neighbouring countries as part of the global fight against terrorism, an action that the judge termed “arbitrary, unlawful and unconstitutional and in violation of their fundamental right against arbitrary arrest guaranteed by Sections 70 and 72 of the Constitution.”

JUSTICE ISAAC LENAOLA

Justice Isaac Lenaola is the presiding judge of the Constitution and Human Rights Division of the High Court and is deputy principal judge of the East Africa Court of Justice. He is a former member of the Judicial Service Commission representing the Magistrates and Judges Association.

He also serves as a judge in a Special Residual Court for Sierra Leone by the UN in conjunction with the Government of Sierra Leone.

 An alumni of the University of Nairobi and the Kenya School of Law, the Judge was in private practice specialising in land and commercial law prior to his appointment to the bench in 2003.

While in practice, the judge was also an active member of the Kenyan Civil Society and was the chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Kenyan Pastoralists forum, a lobby group for pastoralist and marginalised peoples. He has addressed conferences and meetings in Africa, Europe and Latin America on the subject of minority and marginalised people’s rights and has written extensively on constitutional guarantees of those rights. He is an alumni of the International Leadership Programme of the United States Department of State.

An experienced hand reputed to have good case management with no backlog on his diary, he sat on the bench that ruled MPs cannot set their own salaries.

WELDON KORIR

He is the head of the Judicial Review Division of the High Court and has a wealth of experience having risen through the ranks from a magistrate.

He was admitted to the roll of Advocates in 1991.

He is behind the ruling that President Kibaki went against the law when he sanctioned the NHIF interim board despite much consultation with the Premier.

He was a member of the bench that ruled that lawyer Kethi Kilonzo was not validly registered as a voter.

He also sat on the bench that ruled that MPs cannot set their own salaries as that was the preserve of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.


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