judicial appointments

Former Chief Justices join row over Kenya President’s appointment of selected judges only

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed or promoted a number of judges. But not the whole list of 40 nominated by the judicial service commission. Only 34 were sworn in during a ceremony last week, causing strong criticism and strong justification by the President himself. Now two former Chief Justices, Willy Mutunga and David Maraga, have weighed in on the issue as well. Their comments follow criticism by some observers of their successor in office, the new CJ, Martha Koome.

Read letter

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga's open letter, published this week, was a detailed four-page critique of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s appointments. Those sworn in included just 34 of the 40 names given to Kenyatta by the judicial service commission for appointment and the decision to exclude six jurists has caused an uproar.

Judicial appointments’ problems spread like a virus

Like a rampaging judicial virus, political and other problems are infecting the process of appointing judges in a number of African countries. And there’s no vaccine or any other easy solution in sight. Developments in Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya – and then, out of the blue last week, South Africa – all point to serious problems about the process of judicial appointments. Here’s a guide to the symptoms of this particular virus.

Lesotho

Tough questions asked about JSC’s role in extending tenure of Zim’s retired CJ

The drama of Zimbabwe’s ‘judicial amendment’ is far from over. This week, two separate letters demanding information were sent to the judicial service commission, asking for details about the JSC’s role in considering or facilitating the extension of retired Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure.

What, exactly, was the part played by the judicial service commission in facilitating another five years in office for Zimbabwe’s controversial former Chief Justice, Luke Malaba? And, since he was a kingpin in the JSC, did he declare a conflict of interest and excuse himself from any discussions on the matter?

These and other potentially embarrassing questions have been asked of the JSC by two firms of lawyers this week.

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