Kibaki, Raila endorse JSC nominees

The Judicial Service Commission nominated lawyers Willy Mutunga and Nancy Barasa for the positions of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively May 13, 2011. Photo/FILE

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday endorsed the nominees for the top Judiciary posts, paving the way for vetting by Parliament.

They also picked Mr Keriako Tobiko as the nominee for the Director of Public Prosecutions during a meeting at Harambee House, sources said.

The two principals met as Nairobi lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui went to court opposing the nominees on grounds that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) limited the options by submitting only the names of Dr Willy Mutunga for CJ and Ms Nancy Barasa for Deputy CJ.

The JSC forwarded the names after interviewing 18 candidates, who included Court of Appeal and High Court judges.

Mr Tobiko, the chief public prosecutor, was among three nominees forwarded to the principals by a panel led by Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli.

Commission on Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae said they were satisfied with the way the nominations were arrived at.

“If it is the issue of the process, then my answer is an unequivocal yes that the process was right and meets the demands of the Constitution,” he said.

The names will now head to Parliament and, if approved, will be sent back to the President for appointment.

Several MPs have criticised the JSC for only settling on one name instead of two to give the President and the PM options.

The MPs, among them Eldoret North’s William Ruto, have vowed to reject the names in Parliament.

However, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara said the JSC was wise to nominate a single candidate for each post bearing in mind “the earlier mistake by the President in the nominations.”

Assistant ministers Kabando wa Kabando and Ndiritu Muriithi, and Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni vowed to rally their colleagues in the House to support the names.

But some church leaders expressed reservations about the nominees.

Speaking under the banner Kenyan Christian Church Leaders, they said they had “reservations with regard to their assuming these positions on account of our Christian values and beliefs”.

National Council of Churches Kenya general secretary Peter Karanja read a joint statement on behalf of the leaders.

Debate has centred around Dr Mutunga’s ear stud, which he has since clarified was not related to his sexuality but a source of spiritual inspiration.

However, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims secretary-general Adan Wachu said the nominees had what it takes to lead the Judiciary.

Additional reports by Peter Mwai, Jeremiah Kiplangat and Paul Ogemba


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