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Justice Isaac Lenaola: I'm old enough to be Supreme Judge

By Kamau Muthoni | Oct 13th 2016 | 2 min read
Justice Isaac Lenaola during a Supreme Court judge’s interview yesterday. He has said he is not too young to serve in the Supreme Court. (PHOTO: EDWARD KIPLIMO/ STANDARD)

A High Court judge has said he is not too young to serve in the Supreme Court

Born in Maralal, Samburu District, Justice Isaac Lenaola, 49, told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that although he is considered young, he was best suited to serve at the highest court in the land.

He added that his experience as a judge in Kenya and Tanzania where he serves as a deputy principle judge in the East Africa Court of Justice (EACJ) gave him an upper hand to replace retired Justice Phillip Tunoi.

Lenaola, who said he would be a politician or a teacher if he had not pursued law,  told JSC that the Supreme Court needed young blood to serve as the institutional memory when more judges retire.

"I will bring hard work, an analytical mind and collegiality. Being young is a plus. In 12 years, judges will have left me there and we need the institutional memory," he said.

The judge was put to task over his ruling that homosexuals should be allowed to register their organisation.

He defended his ruling, saying Article 36 of the constitution gave every person, irrespective of their sexual orientation, the freedom of association.

"The Constitution recognises that people have a right to form associations and associate with their kind and this is what guided my judgement on the matter," he said.

JSC also wanted to know how Lenaola will balance between being supreme court judge in Kenya and deputy principle judge in EACJ.

The judge said he would forfeit his position in EACJ if appointed Supreme Court judge, pointing out that his term in the regional court will end in early 2018.

Judge Lenaola pledged to bring back the lost glory in the highest court.

The Judge was also questioned about his ruling on the eviction of residents living in the Muthurwa area of Nairobi, where he ordered that they should be evicted in a humane manner.

He told the panel the judgement gave him the opportunity to give direction on how evictions should be carried out in the country.

Also interviewed yesterday was former Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) commissioner Imaana Kibaya Laibula and Moi University lecturer John Chebii.

Mr Laibula told JSC that his achievement in academics despite being visually impaired was a plus for him; and that five years in CIC had taught him a lot about Kenyan laws.

Dr Chebii said his experience in academic and legal practice gave him an upper hand for the position.

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