Mutula upbeat as Cabinet approves Sh823 million for Judiciary
By EVELYN KWAMBOKA
The Cabinet has approved Sh823 million for the Judiciary, part of which will be used for the operations of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said some of the money would also be allocated to the Judiciary for its daily operations.
The Judicial Service Commission is expected to begin preparations for vetting and appointing of judges, magistrates and establishing the Supreme Court.
Some JSC members have also suggested that the appointment of the new Chief Justice be done through a transparent and accountable process.
"Our wish was to advertise the position, get three names for the Principals, who will then as provided for under Schedule Six of the Constitution, pick one and forward to Parliament for approval before appointment by the President," said Justice Isaac Lenaola. He said the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) was free to propose its own formulae for appointment of the judges.
Under the Sixth Schedule, the President is expected to consult Prime Minister Raila Odinga as provided for under the National Accord to nominate Chief Justice Evan Gicheru’s successor. Critics, however, argue that the process would be open to abuse by lobbyists, tribal chieftains and political party mandarins who can easily influence the two principals, hence the need for an accountable process.
Yesterday, the Justice Minister, who has also called for a more accountable process, said the JSC should have distinct offices and its members should exercise their mandate without fear or favour.
Mutula said JSC, President Kibaki and the PM should fill vacancies in the Judiciary in a transparent manner. "Vacancies should be filled by involving the public. The gender equation should be applied when filling the vacancies," he said.
Gicheru is expected to vacate office next month, as per the new Constitution, a position he has held for more than six years.
This has seen some legal associations lobby for one of their own to succeed him, in a bid to restore the institution’s image.
The Law Society of Kenya has proposed five candidates to contest for the post that has since independence been filled directly by presidential appointees.
On Tuesday, Gicheru swore in members of the Commission, who will work with the new CJ as their chairman and the head of the Supreme Court to be established immediately vetting of judges is completed. Another JSC member, Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi, said Kibaki and the Raila should subcontract JSC to carryout the appointments of the CJ, Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Abdullahi said jobs in the Judiciary should be filled in a competitive and transparent manner to restore the institution’s glory.
"Even though the Constitution allows the President to appoint the CJ, he should give JSC powers to do the job," he said.
Kalonzo says Government trying to establish credible judicial mechanism to compliment ICCVice-President Kalonzo Musyoka was in South Africa, where he met President Jacob Zuma, with whom he discussed several bilateral issues.
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