The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Kenya on Wednesday selected five candidates to serve on the nation’s first Supreme Court. The JSC panel selected one woman and four men after a week long interview of 25 candidates. Commission submitted the list of selected candidates to Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki for their appointment.
The list of nominations was submitted to Kibaki for direct appointment because Article 166(1) (b) of Kenya’s Constitution exempts the appointees from questioning by the Parliament of the Republic of Kenya. The Chief Justice (CJ), Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had already been nominated by the JSC, appointed by the president, and approved by parliament pursuant to the country’s new constitution.
In February, Kenneth Marende, Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly, ruled that the CJ, DCJ and DPP nominations violated a constitutional provision. The High Court of Nairobi also ruled that the nominations were unconstitutional because they violated promises of gender equality. Kibaki signed a new constitution into law in August 2010 as part of a reform movement aimed at curbing vast presidential powers. Kenya’s new constitution includes numerous checks on presidential authority, among which are the creation of a Supreme Court and senate. The new constitution was approved by popular referendum earlier in August 2010. The creation of a new constitution was part of a power-sharing agreement reached in 2009 between Kibaki and opposition leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga that brought to an end the civil unrest that followed the presidential elections. Election officials sought to make the referendum as inclusive and peaceful as possible by allowing prisoners to vote and prosecuting those who suggested violence in reaction to the changes under the prevailing hate speech laws.
Report by Reuben