Uhuru taken to court over appointment of 34 new judges

Not so fast, Uhuru

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta's appointment of 34 new judges has been challenged in court.

The petition filed on Friday morning, just a day after the President gazetted the appointments, is seeking to have the appointments revoked.

Katiba Institute, a lobby group, has sought to have President Kenyatta compelled to appoint all 40 judges who were recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Court papers read: "That the Court issue a further order of prohibition stopping the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission, their agents or anyone whatsoever from assigning duties to judges appointed from a partial list of the 40 nominees — contrary to the recommendation of the JSC in 2019 and the orders of this court in February 2020, pending hearing of the application and Petition."

The lobby group argues that, by leaving out six judges from the appointments, the President undermined the authority of the Judiciary.

The Institute has further argued that the Constitutional rights of the six judges will stand violated should the JSC proceed to swear them in.

Six Judges Uhuru Rejected

The six judges left out in the appointments included Justice Weldon Korir, Justice Aggrey Muchelule, Justice Joel Ngugi and Justice George Odunga who were set to join the Court of Appeal. The other two appointments were to the Magistrates courts.

Justices Ngugi and Odunga were involved in the High Court ruling which nullified the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum Bill.

Their being left out of the judiciary promotions has been seen as overt retaliation by the President.

The appointments have also shifted attention to the current Head of Judiciary, Chief Justice Martha Koome.

Senator Millicent Omanga on Friday morning tweeted: "Dear CJ Martha Koome, Kenyans are keenly watching your moves over the appointment of judges. Will you call the president's bluff or you'll pander to the executive? Whatever you do with this moment will define Kenyans' perception of the judiciary under leadership. Act!"

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi also pointed an accusing finger at CJ Koome claiming that she had compromised her position when consulted by the President on the appointments.

"Chief Justice Martha Koome has weakened the Judiciary by conceding to the rejection by Uhuru Kenyatta of four judges and two magistrates," President Havi stated during an interview on Thursday.

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