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Parliament approves JSC nominee despite queries about PhD

By | Aug 10th 2011 | 2 min read
By | August 10th 2011

Parliament approved the appointment of the Reverend Samuel Kobia to the Judicial Service Commission after dismissing queries about his post-graduate credentials and the constitutionality of his appointment.

MPs Tuesday unanimously endorsed a report of the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, which recommended that Kobia be appointed to the JSC.

Kobia was picked by President Kibaki to replace Bishop Anthony Muheria, who quit from the JSC in April. The President will now formally appoint the former secretary general of the World Council of Churches, praised by MPs as a reformist of high integrity.

CIOC Vice-chairman Millie Odhiambo urged MPs to support the nominee, saying information published by The Standard questioning his PhD was not available to the committee prior to the vetting.

“The committee deliberated on the issue and agreed that the information was not before the committee at the time of its deliberations. Further, we were not looking for a PhD holder. As a committee, we are convinced that he is qualified and urge the House to adopt the report,” she said.


Parliament also overruled an objection, by Kilome MP Harun Mwau, to debate the report on grounds the nomination was flawed.

Mwau argued that the current JSC was constituted under transitional provisions of the new Constitution and its members were appointed on three-year terms. It was unconstitutional, he contended, to appoint a commissioner to serve for five years.

Mwau explained the transitional JSC is established under Article 20(3)(d) with a lifespan of three years. He added that it would be wrong to replace a person appointed under those provisions with another selected through Section 171(2)(d) that stipulated a five-year term.

But Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim ruled that the staggered appointments were meant to ensure continuity.

Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi said the transitional provisions had lapsed after the constitution of the JSC. “We have already passed that because the JSC has already been appointed,” he said.

Stories by David Ochami and Alex Ndegwa

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