Judges lock horns over JSC representative position as Justice Majanja exits

 

The term of Justice David Majanja at JSC is coming to an end this month. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Judges are embroiled in a legal battle over their representative in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The term of Justice David Majanja is coming to an end this month.

His replacement is now at the heart of the split between female High Court judges and their male counterparts.

Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association (KJMA) notified members that only male Judges will be eligible to replace Majanja.

KJMA’s decision was backed by the fact that Chief Magistrate Evelyne Olwade, a female, is a representative of the magistrates in commission.  

It claimed that it is seeking to balance the scales by restricting the upcoming election of a representative to male Judges.

However, Justice Kamau in her case argued that the election should be open to all.

She lamented that despite expressing her interest in the position, she was unceremoniously locked out.

“The petitioner asserts that the respondent has breached and threatens to continue violating her fundamental human rights and freedoms by illegally and unjustifiably rejecting her application to contest for the position of High Court Judge representative to the JSC,” argued Kamau through her lawyers Iseme, Kamau Company Advocates.

She noted that Majanja is set to leave JSC on May 15, 2024.

Justice Kamau explained that the notice inviting candidates to vie for Justice Majanja's replacement was sent to all.

 “The notice was sent to all members of the Respondent without exception. The notice stated that the elections would be held on May 11, 2024. The election date was subsequently changed to May 25, 2024,” she said.

Kamau said that she was the only female candidate who declared her interest in replacing Majanja. However, the Judge said she was the only candidate who was knocked out.

“The Executive Director in his decision dated April 6, 2024 (hereinafter the “Executive Director’s Decision”), explained that the petitioner’s application was unsuccessful because as a woman she was precluded under Rule 4.2 of the Election Rules from contesting for the position of the High Court Judge representative. She was thus disqualified on the basis of her gender,” she argued.

 KJMA CEO Daniel Sepu in his reply said he believes that whenever a vacancy falls in JSC, the replacement should always be of the opposite gender if there is a sitting representative either a male or a female.

He insisted that the person who should replace Majanja should be a man and not a woman.

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