advertisement
Economy

Odunga battles past decisions in race for appellate court job

George Odunga
High Court Judge George Odunga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Past decisions by High Court Judge George Odunga came to haunt him as he appeared before an interview panel yesterday, seeking a post in the appellate court.

But the judge defended the decisions stating that all his judgments were clear “and influenced only by the Constitution and the applicable law”.

“I have made decisions against and in favour of the government. I have made decisions even against the Judicial Service Commission.

“In all my decisions, it is clear that I cannot be influenced by any other factors other than the Constitution and the law. I am a staunch Catholic but I have never allowed my religious beliefs to affect my decisions,” he said.

Asked by Judicial Service Commission commissioner Macharia Njeru whether he thought of consequences when he declared the appointments of returning officers, for the 2017 General Election was done irregularly, a day to the repeat poll, Justice Odunga defended the ruling.

advertisement

He said there was illegality in the hiring and although he declared them unconstitutional, he declined to grant the relief the petitioners sought.

“If a decision is likely to lead to anarchy, I may not grant the reliefs. Based on the arguments before me and applying the law, there was illegality. Disaster kicks in when we don’t follow the law. That notwithstanding, I declined to grant the reliefs,” said Justice Odunga.

Asked by Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki on judicial activism and the perception that his decisions were anti-government, he defended his tenure at the Judicial Review Division in Nairobi.

“The Constitution requires the court to develop the law and give effect to the rights and freedoms espoused in the constitution. It may be construed to mean judicial activism but the law has to be developed,” said the judge.

The panellists also asked him about his decision, quashing the appointment of the University of Nairobi council, made by then Education CS Fred Matiang’i and the fact the institution operated without a council for two years. He said he always considers consequences and then, another council was in place and had to reject the new appointments.

advertisement