Uhuru wins round one in row with ‘rogue’ judges
It is a relief for President Uhuru Kenyatta after the Court of Appeal temporarily suspended a High Court order requiring him to appoint the remaining six judges he left out in June within 14 days.
A three-judge bench hearing the application by the President, seeking to reverse the directive issued a temporary stay pending a ruling to be delivered on November 19.
In a case filed by the Katiba Institute against the head of state after his decision to reject six of the 41 judges backed for promotion by the Judicial Service Commission, a three-judge bench consisting of Justices George Dulu, William Musyoka, and James Wakiaga on October 21 ruled that the appointments should stand.
If the President declines to abide by the directive, the three judges indicated that the six rejected nominees, that is, justices Weldon Korir, Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Judy Omange and Evans Kiago will be deemed duly appointed.
“Upon the lapse of the 14 days, it shall be presumed that his power has expired and his office becomes functus and the remaining six judges shall be deemed duly appointed as judges of highest courts.” The said.
However, Uhuru through his lawyer Waweru Gatonye sought an appeal claiming the judgment is an attempt to rewrite and amend the Constitution in a manner not contemplated under Chapter 16.
“The judgment and orders of the superior court are patently unconstitutional and have the potential effect of creating a conflict between the office of the Chief Justice and the Office of the President,” his lawyer stated in court papers.
The lobby group said the President’s refusal to comply with the orders has done untold damage to the justice system and to judicial independence.
Chief Justice Martha Koome, also pronounced herself on the matter noting that there had been no binding reason adduced regarding the rejection of the six judicial officers and as such, the Head of State was under obligation to appoint them to their designated offices.
“I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my position as the Chief Justice and as the chairperson of the judicial service commission and state that all persons recommended by the JSC and as directed by the constitution must be appointed as judges, that is the law,” she said.