President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed 34 of the 41 judges that had been nominated by the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) to various Courts in 2019 and rejected four Judges nominated to the Court of Appeal.
The rejected judges include; Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Chacha Mwita, Aggrey Muchelule, and Weldon Korir.
Justices George Odunga and Joel Ngugi sat on the five-judge bench that declared BBI unconstitutional. This also comes as a seven-judge bench is set to hear an appeal by the President, ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Attorney General and IEBC following the nullification of the BBI process.
The 41 Judges were interviewed and shortlisted by the JSC in In July 2019, and their names recommended to the president for appointment. Their appointment took way longer than expected to the chagrin of the Judiciary who decried a growing number of cases backlog due to a shortage of judges.
Justice Joel Ngugi
In November 2019, Chief Justice David Maraga went public regarding the issue, saying the President’s delay in appointing the judges was frustrating the Judiciary.
” The constitution does not donate any mandate to the president to perform any other activities but to appoint the names received from JSC,” he said.
“You know I have respect for you as our President, you also know that I have unsuccessfully sought an appointment with you to sort out these issues but it has been futile leaving me with no option but to make this public,” Maraga said.
Chief Justice Martha Koome’s “Negotiation Skills”
During her interview for the position of Chief Justice, Justice Martha Koome told the JSC that she would use her “strong negotiation skills” to push for the appointment of the 41 judges, saying if there is an issue with any of them that is causing the delay, those are things that can be ironed out.
All eyes are now on the new Chief Justice to provide clarity on the issue. As of Friday morning, the hashtag #MarthaKoome is a top trend on Twitter, with Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) asking the CJ to speak up!
Below are some Reactions on Twitter
Nelson Havi : Executive power, oppressively and whimsically wielded is transient. HE Uhuru Kenyatta leaves office in September 2022. Justices Aggrey Muchelule, Weldon Korir, Joel Ngugi and George Odunga will then ascend to the Court of Appeal. For now, the High Court remains fortified. ^POLSK
Prof Makau Mutua : BBI judges Joel Ngugi and George Odunga have been denied elevation to the Court of Appeal. Mr. Kenyatta can’t choose which provisions of the CONSTITUTION to OBEY, or DISREGARD. Gazetted judges should DECLINE their appointment until ALL JSC-recommended judges are included.
CJ Martha Koome MUST speak up — NOW! It’s now, or never.
Capt. Tony Mureithi: If Chief Justice Martha Koome fails to stand her ground on Justice Prof. Joel Ngugi and Justice Odunga, I’ll consider her weak, and totally deficient! The executive cannot run the judiciary like it’s a MURATINA Shabeen!