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CJ Martha Koome asks Uhuru to appoint remaining six judges

NATIONAL
By Betty Njeru | June 4th 2021
Chief Justice Martha Koome in Kisumu. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome has urged President Uhuru to appoint six of the 40 judges he rejected, saying the Judiciary is in dire need due to an increase in the backlog of cases.

She cited a scenario in 2014 when the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) recommended the appointment of 25 judges, but only 11 were appointed and would later appoint the other fourteen.

In a statement Friday, Koome said she was not involved in the judges’ appointments.

“I wish to state that I had no part to play in this Constitutional process which was undertaken almost two years ago. Upon forwarding the names to the President, the Chief Justice and the JSC became functus officio (ceased to have any role),” she stated.

The CJ broke her silence a day after Uhuru gazetted the appointment of 34 judges, and presided over their swearing-in, all within 24 hours.

She also lamented on respect as regards matters Judiciary saying no one should direct the JSC on how to execute its mandate.

“Respect for the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary is guaranteed under the Constitution. No person or authority is allowed to direct the JSC or the Judiciary in the execution of its mandate,” CJ Koome said.

She termed the happenings between the Judiciary and the Executive as a “delay and misunderstanding” referring to the impasse in the appointment of the judges, spanning for two years.

On Thursday, May 3, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed 34 judges to the Court of Appeal, Land and Labour Relations Courts, all of whom were sworn in today at State House, Nairobi.

Six judges whose names were forwarded to the president by the JSC did not make the cut.

State House in a statement yesterday said the President turned down the nominations of High Court Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule and Weldon Korir to the Appellate court “for failing to meet the required threshold”.

Registrar of the High Court Judith Omange and Chief Magistrate Evans Makori who had been nominated to the Environment and Lands Court were also left out.

 

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