President Ruto appoints 20 new High Court judges

Lawrence Mugambi

Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi. He has been appointed as a High Court judge. 

Photo credit: File

President William Ruto has appointed 20 High Court judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission last week.

The appointment announced through a gazette notice dated December 5, 2022, paves way for their swearing in and subsequent posting to work stations.

Among those appointed are seven magistrates who have been elevated to the judgeship.

They include Milimani Anti-Corruption court chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi,  Gichohi Patricia Njeri, Kavedza Diana Rachael, Nyaga Heston Mbogo, Mulwa Peter Mutua, Macharia Florence Wangari and Odera Teresa Achieng. The gazetted list has eight women and 12 men.

The High Court currently has 82 judges against a statutory establishment of 200 judges and the appointment of the new judges will push the number to 102.

The appointees are drawn from the Judiciary, legal practice and academia.

Others in the list include Mongare Josphine Wayua Wambua, Nyaundi Patricia Mande, Chirchir Sophie Chebet, Prof (Dr) Sifuna Nixon Wanyama, Shariff Mwanaisha Saida, Chigiti John Mugwimi and Mutai Gregory.

Also in the list is Wananda John Robert Anuro, Mohochi Samwel Mukira, Olel Francis Rayola Ochieng Odhiambo, Dr Gathiru Freda Mugambi, Magare Dennis Kizito Ng’wono and Visram Aleem Alnashir.

They were selected from a list of 104 people including magistrates, lawyers and academics who had been shortlisted to fill the 20 vacancies advertised on March 24, 2022. The 104 candidates were shortlisted from a pool of 266 applicants.

Notable figures interviewed for the positions but missed the jobs include two senior prosecutors – Dorcas Oduor (Secretary, Public Prosecutions and the Principal Deputy to the Director of Public Prosecutions) and Alexander Muteti (senior assistant DPP).

Ms Odour, who is also Head of Economic, International and Emerging Crimes at the Office of the DPP, had also in July been interviewed by JSC for the position of the Appeal court judge but she was not hired.

Also missed the jobs include lawyers and scholars such lawyer Ng’ania Melissa together with magistrates Douglas Ogoti and Elizabeth Juma from the anti-corruption court and Wendy Kagendo and Francis Andayi from the criminal division.

Other magistrates who were eyeing elevation but missed include Derrick Kuto, who is the president of the Kenya magistrates and judges association (KMJA).

The appointment of the 20 judges has direct impact of the country’s public wage bill as it will rise by at least Sh240 million annually.

A High Court judge earns a maximum of Sh1,000,974 monthly plus other duty allowances and benefits such as official transport (a government car, driver and security detail).

Another benefit entitled to judges is an annual medical cover of Sh10 million (inpatient), Sh300,000 (outpatient), Sh150,000 (maternity), Sh75,000 (Dental) and Sh75,000 (optical).

They are also entitled car loan and mortgage, non-practicing allowance of Sh20,000 and group life insurance that is for a value equivalent to three times of the annual basic remuneration package.

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