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Here's the history of the seven-judge bench set to receive NASA in court
By Ureport | Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 16:10 EAT
CJ David Maraga. (Inset) Raila Odinga
  • The Supreme Court is going to be a battle ground for Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) after Opposition leader Raila Odinga finally took his presidential petition there
  • The whole nation's eyes are now focused on Kenya's 15th Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga, the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya

1.Chief Justice David Maraga

The 66-year-old jurist is a strict, Seventh - day Adventist who has said he will not work on Saturday, even for a presidential petition, which has finally come his way.

Justice Maraga, was named CJ last year after beating 13 candidates who applied for the position.

The former presiding judge of the court in Kisumu scored 84 marks. He was closely followed by his fellow Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala with 74 marks and US-based law professor Makau Mutua who garnered 70 marks.

Prior to his appointment as CJ, Justice Maraga was the Presiding Judge of the Court Of Appeal at Kisumu and the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee on Elections.

He was also Chairperson of the Tribunal appointed last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta that investigated and ruled on the conduct of a Judge of the High Court of Kenya, Justice Joseph Mutava.

CJ Maraga holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of Nairobi; a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the same University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law. He was admitted onto the Roll of Advocates in October 1978.

At one time, Ainamoi Member of Parliament Benjamin Langat opposed his appointment over his ruling on the trial of his brother David Kimutai Too's death. According to Langat, Justice Maraga erred in his decision to reduce the charge against the officer who killed his brother, who was by then Ainamoi MP, from murder to manslaughter, handing him a less punitive sentence of 10 years.

Justice Maraga, then a judge at the High Court in Nakuru, acquitted Andrew Moeche Omwenga of murder but found him guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.


2. Deputy Chief Justice Lady Philomena Mbete Mwilu

Lady Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu was appointed Deputy Chief Justice on October 28, 2016.

Justice Mwilu who graduated from the University of Nairobi and was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya in 1984, deputises the Chief Justice and is the vice-president of the Supreme Court.

With over 32 years' experience in the legal profession, Justice Mwilu practised law in the firms of Muthoga Gaturu & Company and later Mutunga & Company Advocates.

She thereafter worked as a senior legal manager at Jubilee Insurance Company, served as the Board secretary at the Electricity Regulatory Board, the Deputy Chairperson of the Energy Tribunal, and Director on the Board of Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company before her appointment as a Judge of the High Court in 2007.

She served in the Commercial Division in Nairobi and later the High Court in Eldoret.

She was later transferred to Nairobi where she served at the Criminal Division and subsequently headed the Environment and Land Division of the High Court.

3. Hon Justice Mohamed Khadar Ibrahim

Justice Mohamed Ibrahim acted as CJ following Justice Mutunga's retirement last year until Justice Maraga was picked for the job.

He attended the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law Degree.

Justice Ibrahim, who was admitted to the Roll of Advocates on the January 11, 1983, was appointed a judge of the inaugural Supreme Court of Kenya on June 16, 2011 after an open and competitive interview.

 Until then, a High Court Judge since his appointment on May 22, 2003, serving in Eldoret, Nairobi and Mombasa.

4. Justice Prof Jackton Boma Ojwang

Justice Prof Jackton Boma Ojwang, a scholar and long-time lecturer at the University of Nairobi joined the Supreme Court at its inauguration in 2011. He was of the six judges who dismissed the presidential election petition of March 30, 2013.

He served as a Lecturer at the University Of Nairobi School Of Law from 1976 to 1983, becoming a full Professor of Law from 1987 to 1990 and later an Associate Professor at the University Of Nairobi School Of Law.

In September 2015, Ojwang received a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi, having successfully defended his thesis, titled The Unity of the Constitution and the Common Law.

He became the first sitting Kenyan judge to receive a Doctor of Laws degree.

5. Justice Dr Smokin Wanjala

In June 2012, Justice Dr. Smokin Charles Wanjala was among five Justices nominated to the Supreme Court of Kenya by the Judicial Service Commission (Kenya).

He was once chairman of JSC Human Resource Management committee that oversees the establishment of appropriate human resources policies and strategies while on the JSC.

After Chief Justice Willy Mutunga announced his early retirement, Dr Wanjala sat for the interviews coming second after Justice Maraga.

Justice Wanjala, who in 2000 graduated with a Doctorate in Law (PhD) from the University of Ghent, Belgium, was a Law Lecturer at the University of Nairobi for 20 years (1986-2004).

Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Wanjala was the first Chairman of the Public Complaints Committee on the Environment (PCC) which is one of the Compliance Committees of the National Environment and Management Authority-NEMA.

6. Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndung'u

Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndungu was appointed to the inaugural Supreme Court on June 11, 2011.

She began her career between 1989-1993 at the Office of the Attorney General as a State Counsel.

She later worked as a Programme Officer (Civic Education) with the Institute for Education in Democracy until 1995.

In 1995 she moved and worked for one year at UNHCR Kenya Branch Office as a National Protection Officer.

Between 2000 – 2002 she worked as a Political Analyst for the Organization of African Unity, (OAU) which is now Africa Union.

Justice Ndungu was nominated to the 9th Parliament by the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition – NARC to serve as a nominated Member of Parliament between 2003-2007.

She's best remembered for her contribution in parliament especially when she moved several private members bills including the Sexual Offenses Bill, 2006, which is popularly referred to as the Njoki law.

She sat on the court during the Supreme Court 2013 presidential petition.

7. Justice Isaac Lenaola

The 49-year-old Justice Isaac Leneola beat a pool of senior judges from the Court of Appeal who had applied for the position to replace retired judge Philip Tunoi.

He successfully joined the Supreme Court in late 2016 after a lengthy interview to fill the vacant positions left by Justice Philip Tunoi and Justice Kalpana Rawal who had attained the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 years.

Until his appointment, Justice Lenaola, the youngest of the Supreme Court judges, was the head of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division at the High Court.

Lenaola's appointment dashed the hopes of several women's organisations that petitioned the commission to appoint a woman to conform to the two-thirds gender rule at the Supreme Court.

In 1987, Justice Lenaola joined the University of Nairobi for his LLB (Bachelor of Laws) studies and graduated with a Second Class Honours Upper Division in 1990.

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