Katiba Institute has moved to court seeking to block the swearing of the 34 judges appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In an application filed through lawyer Dudley Ochiel, the Institute argues that the move by the Head of State to appoint 34 judges and leave out 6 was undermining the judiciary and its independence.
For instance, the Institute cited Article 166( 1) 0f the Constitution, which commands the President to appoint judges of superior courts according to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
According to them, President Uhuru’s failure to give reasons for the ommissions of the 6 judges is some form of judicial sabotage hence highly unconstitutional.
“Cherry-picking also illegally serves as a constructive removal of the nominees already as sitting judges. A fact which is both unconstitutional and highly stigmatizing” read the application in part.
It further adds, “The cherry-picking and selective appointment or swearing-in of judges undermines the functions and powers of the Judicial Service Commission and the functioning of the Judiciary. It also is an improper extension of the role of the Executive and has created a constitutional crisis.”
On Thursday, President Uhuru approved 34 new judges of the 41 proposed to him by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in 2019.
In a gazette notice dated June 3, seven judges have been appointed to the Court of appeal, nine to the employment and labor relations court, and 18 to the environment and land court.
The head of state ideally rejected six nominees: Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir, and Prof Joel Ngugi, who were recommended for the Court of Appeal.
Justices Ngugi and Odunga were part of the three-judge bench that declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) null and void.
The initial number of judges sent for Uhuru’s approval was 41, but one person died.
Judges approved for the Court of Appeal are Msagha Mbogholi, Hellen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyott, Pauline Nyamweya, Jessie Lesiit, and Imaana Laibuta.
Those appointed to the Employment and Labour Relations Court are Baari Christine Noontatua, Gakeri Jacob Kariuki, Keli Jemima Wanza, Mwaure Ann Ngibuini, Matanga Bernard Odongo Manani, Rutto Stella Chemtai, Kebira Ocharo, Kitiku Agnes Mueni-Nzei, and Nderitu David Njagi.
Those moving to the Environment and Land Court include; Mboya Oguttu Joseph, Naikuni Lucas Leperes, Mwanyale Michael Ngolo, Addraya Edda Dena, Kimani Lilian Gathoni, Kamau Joseph Mugo, Wabwoto Karoph Edward, and Koross Anne Yatich Kipingor.
Others are Gicheru Maxwell Nduiga, Mogeni Ann Jacqueline Akhalemesi, Ongarora Fred Nyagaka, Christopher Kyania Nzili, Mugo David Mwangi, Omollo Lynette Achieng’, Washe Emmanuel Mutwana, Nyukuri Annet, Murigi Theresa Wairimu, and Asati Esther.