By Samuel Ouma
Retired Kenyan Chief Justice (CJ) David Maraga has launched a scathing attack at President Kenyatta over his failure to appoint six judges who were among 40 recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) judges’ and Magistrates’ employer in 2019.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed 34 out of 40 but rejected the six claiming they have integrity issues.
Among those rejected are Judges George Odunga and Joel Ngugi, who were part of the five-judge bench that nullified the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) last month. Others were Weldon Korir, Aggrey Muchelule, Evans Kiago, and Judith Omange.
Justices Odunga, Ngugi, Korir, and Muchelule were recommended to be appointed as Judges of the Court of Appeal.
In an interview with the local KNT television, the former CJ told off Mr. Kenyatta that his sole responsibility is to appoint judges and then raise concerns with the Judicial Service Commission.
“Article 166 (1b) of the Kenyan law states that the President shall appoint all the Judges in accordance with the recommendations of the JSC subject to the approval by the National Assembly (in the case of the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice. ) ” the former CJ said.
Maraga argued that Uhuru’s decision is ruining the lives and careers of the judges and that of their families.
“These judges have been condemned unheard, in the eyes of the public, these are the corrupt judges the President was talking about. The President cannot come and say he has intelligence reports that these people have integrity issues and expect that we take his word for it,” stated Maraga
He also disclosed that the names of the appointees first given to the JSC whose integrity were question had changed.
“I confirm that the names have changed. Those who were said to have integrity issues, some have been added to that list some have been removed. For the good of persons concerned I won’t name them,” Maraga he added.
The ex-President of the Judiciary boldly noted that he will remember Uhuru as a President who disregarded the law.
Maraga’s predecessor Dr. Willy Mutunga also accused the Head of State on Tuesday, June 8, of breeding impunity. Dr. Mutunga said Uhuru’s reluctance to appoint the judges was driven by personal resentment and not principle.
He further questioned why the President had to take more than two years to appoint the judges.