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Uhuru appeals High Court directive on judges

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome [2nd R] with Judges of the Court of Appeal at State House, Nairobi during the swearing-in ceremony of recently gazetted Judges. On the right is Chief registrar of the Judiciary, Anne Amadi. PHOTO | PSCU

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Summary

  • In a decision last week, a bench of three judges gave President Kenyatta 14 days to appoint the judges, failure to which they will be deemed to have been appointed to the respective positions.
  • Justices George Dulu, William Musyoka and James Wakiaga directed Chief Justice Martha Koome to swear in the six judges after the lapse of the two weeks.
  • President Kenyatta rejected the six over alleged integrity issues surrounding them.

The Court of Appeal has certified as urgent an application by President Uhuru Kenyatta seeking to reverse a decision directing him to swear in six judges he left out in June.

Through lawyer Waweru Gatonye, President Kenyatta argued that the appeal was extremely urgent because there is eminent danger of embarrassment and uncertainty in the dispensation of justice if the six judges are deemed to have been appointed as directed by the High Court.

In a decision last week, a bench of three judges gave President Kenyatta 14 days to appoint the judges, failure to which they will be deemed to have been appointed to the respective positions.

Justices George Dulu, William Musyoka and James Wakiaga directed Chief Justice Martha Koome to swear in the six judges after the lapse of the two weeks.

The six judges left out when the President appointed 34 others are High Court judges Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir and Joel Ngugi. The four had been recommended by Judicial Service Commission to join the Appellate court.

President Kenyatta also left out chief magistrate Evans Makori and High Court registrar Judith Omange, who were recommended to be judges of the labour court.

“The Judgment is clearly an attempt to rewrite or otherwise amend the constitution in a manner not contemplated under chapter 16 of the constitution,” Mr Gatonye said in the appeal.

He argues that the order will cause uncertainty over the legality of proceedings to be handled by the said judges if the High Court decision stands and might expose Kenyans to ‘unmitigated harm and anguish’ in the event the intended appeal is successful.

The Court of Appeal directed Mr Gatonye to serve JSC, Attorney General, Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association and Katiba Institute with the court documents immediately.

“The Applicant(s) to file and serve written submissions and any other relevant documents within three days from today. The Respondent (s) to respond and file and serve written submissions and any other relevant documents in response within three days thereafter,” the court directed. 

President Kenyatta rejected the six over alleged integrity issues surrounding them. In his speech when he swore in 34 judges, President Kenyatta said, “As long as I serve as president, I will choose the right over convenient; the hard over the easy.”

Katiba Institute then moved to court terming the move an illegality.

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