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Orders restraining President's powers over JSC extended

By Faith Karanja | February 4th 2016
Justice Issac Lenaola

NAIROBI: Orders suspending an amendment to the Judicial Service Commission Act have been extended.

Justice Issac Lenaola Wednesday extended the orders until February 16 when he will begin to hear a suit by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) opposing the adjustment.

The amendment gives the President powers to appoint the Chief Justice and his deputy. The court issued the directive because involved parties were yet to file and exchange their submissions. The orders also restrain JSC from commencing recruitment of top judicial officers set to replace CJ Willy Mutunga and his deputy Kalpana Rawal.

LSK has gone to court arguing that the amended Act is unconstitutional as it purports to give the President powers that he does not have under the Constitution. Through lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, LSK said the proposed law should be suspended on grounds that it usurps Article 166 of the Constitution. The matter will be heard on February 12.

Meanwhile the Opposition has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of over stepping his mandate when he made recommendations on nine bills passed by Parliament. Coaliton for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) said when the President made unilateral proposals to strike out, amend or delete provisions of the nine bills passed by Parliament, he clearly participated in law making.

Through Lawyer Antony Oluoch, CORD told Justice Isaac Lenaola that based on the principle of separation of powers the President does not participate in law making.

"The law does not allow him (the President) to make any recommendations," said Oluoch.

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