JSC member accuses CJ Maraga of sabotaging recruitment of replacement - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 16 October 2020

JSC member accuses CJ Maraga of sabotaging recruitment of replacement


Chief Justice David Maraga has been accused of frustrating his succession as President of the Supreme Court.

A member of the Judicial Service Commission on Friday laid bare the protracted battles in the succession debacle.

Macharia Njeru, LSK representative at the JSC, cited external and internal forces working with the CJ to derail the process of determining the next Chief Justice.

Maraga is due to proceed on terminal leave on December 15 ahead of his retirement on January 12, 2021.

Citing a botched meeting which was slated for Friday, Njeru said there are forces hell-bent on frustrating a seamless transition at the Supreme Court helm.

He accused the CJ, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, and Justice Mohamed Warsame of opposing the commencement of the recruitment process.

Maraga reportedly cancelled the meeting, which was settled on after a stormy session on September 30 when the JSC sub-committee steering the recruitment issued its report.

“After lengthy deliberations of over three hours, the Chief Justice asked for an adjournment to October 16 (today) to allow for consensus other than a vote to decide the crucial process,” Njeru said.

But the CJ on Thursday sent the commission a WhatsApp message unilaterally cancelling the meeting.

Njeru said the commissions’ protests against the meeting’s cancellation have fallen on deaf ears.

“It is clear that the Chief Justice with a few others are hellbent on derailing the process of his successor, leaving the Judiciary in a crisis of leadership,” he said in a statement.

Njeru said it will not be surprising if someone would seek a court injunction against the JSC with aim of derailing the process.

The LSK representative assured Kenyans that they will ensure full transparency in the process.

“We are determined to expeditiously deliver a Chief Justice with absolute integrity and one whom the public will have confidence in,” he said.

Njeru warned that the failure to do so would ‘be unmitigated disaster and unforgivable’.

“Critical business that affects the country should never be managed in secrecy and with ulterior motives. We occupy our positions as trustees and do not drive personal agenda,” the commissioner said.

He reported that JSC on September 16 resolved to appoint a sub-committee to chart a roadmap for recruiting the CJ and transitional arrangements.

It comprised JSC vice chair Mercy Deche; Mohammed Warsame; David Majanja; Elizabeth Ominde; and Njeru.

It recommended to the full commission the immediate commencement of the recruitment of the next CJ, including advertising for the post.

This was on the understanding that the process is lengthy and that the actual appointment would be done after Maraga leaves office.

JSC, he said, felt it would be irresponsible to allow gaps in a critical institution such as the judiciary hence the push for timely succession.

An elaborate plot is afoot within the JSC to force out Maraga before his tenure expires.

The Star has established there have been behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to have Maraga’s job advertised while he is still in office, which is illegal.

Maraga is unwelcome in the corridors of power following his protracted feud with the Executive  and lately MPs  after he recommended the dissolution of Parliament for not implementing the two-thirds gender rule. 

The commission is comprised of Maraga who is the chairperson, Mwilu, judges  Warsame and David Majanja, Attorney General Paul Kihara magistrate Emily Ominde, Prof Olive Mugenda, Deche, Njeru, Felix Kiptarus and Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi.

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