Five candidates have made it to the final stage in the search for a deputy Chief Justice to replace Nancy Baraza who resigned four months ago following a storm over her altercation with a security guard at a shopping mall in Nairobi.
Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal, Raychelle Omamo Awuor, Joyce Miguda Majiwa, Lucy Muthoni Kambuni and Okawa Phoebe Nyawade will battle it out to become the Deputy President of the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, the Judicial Service Commission said interviews would be conducted from February 18 and asked the public to submit information on the five before then.
The five candidates beat 13 others who applied, including eight High Court and Court of Appeal judges.
The justices who did not make it to the short-list are Roselyn Nambuye, Fatuma Sichale, Fatuma Sichale, Wanjiru Karanja, Grace Wangui Ngenye, Ruth Sitati, Helen Omondi, Hannah Okwengu and Mary Ang’awa.
Justice Ang’awa, who was attempting to be Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s deputy for the second time, was recently found unsuitable to continue serving on the bench by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board chaired by Sharad Rao.
The Constitution requires that the President appoints the CJ and deputy in accordance with recommendations by the Judicial Service Commission and with the approval of Parliament. The two should not be of the same gender.
Judge Rawal is heading a commission of Inquiry into the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojode, two bodyguards and two pilots on June 10 last year.
Ms Omamo, who was the first woman to chair the Law Society of Kenya, served as Ambassador to France.
Ms Majiwa is a former executive director of Fida while Ms Kambuni served as LSK vice-chairperson.
Dr Nyawade is an advocate of the High Court who is in private practice.
Omamo, Majiwa and Kambuni were among 15 advocates recently promoted to be senior counsels.
The supreme law allows the President to remove a judge on grounds of gross misconduct but only on the advice of a tribunal.
Ms Baraza resigned after a tribunal recommended she leave the Judiciary for “gross misconduct and misbehaviour.”
President Kibaki had set up the tribunal chaired by the former Tanzanian Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani to investigate her conduct following an altercation with security guard Rebecca Kerubo at the Village Market on the eve of 2012.
Ms Baraza was accused of drawing a gun and pinching the sentry’s nose when the guard demanded that the judge undergo security screening at the mall. She resigned on October 18 last year after withdrawing her appeal at the Supreme Court.