Immediate former Chief Justice David Maraga has criticized President Uhuru Kenyatta for refusing to appoint six judges as recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
In an interview with KTN News’ Sophia Wanuna from his Karen residence on Wednesday, Maraga said the President’s move was unconstitutional.
President Kenyatta on Thursday, June 3, appointed 34 judges from a list of 41 submitted by JSC and left out the six that included George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Joel Ngugi, Weldon Korir, Judith Cheruiyot and Evans Makori.
Kahawa Tungu understands that the six judges were omitted over alleged integrity issues.
President Kenyatta had delayed the appointment of the judges for nearly two years over the alleged involvement of some of the nominees in corrupt practices.
— KTN News (@KTNNewsKE) June 9, 2021
However, according to Maraga, the President’s move was ill-informed.
He argues that the judges have been condemned unheard and anyone who had a problem with the nominees ought to have filed a complaint with JSC.
He accused the President of ruining the judges’ lives.
“When somebody loses a case before that judge he will come up with frivolous allegations that this man was bribed. We have reported that he is someone who takes bribes or is someone who has integrity issues,” said Maraga.
“In the eyes of the public, these are the corrupt judges the President was talking about.”
He added, “you are literally ruining the careers of these judges and totally ruining their lives and those of their families. It can not be done so casually like it has been done. This is extremely bad.”
During his tenure, Maraga had a frosty relationship with the Head of State.
He severally accused the President of attempting to interfere with the independence of the judiciary after failing to appoint the 41 judges.
Maraga’s predecessor Willy Mutunga yesterday also joined a list of individuals who have rebuked the President over the recent move.
“The president’s conduct in this matter has been beneath the dignity of that high office. For two years he has subjected several advocates to untold personal suffering for no reason at all, and called into question the integrity of serving judges and judicial officers without any due process,” Mutunga said in a hard-hitting letter to Uhuru.
“Most disturbing is the president’s decision to omit the names of six judges and judicial officers from the list. Strikingly, the presidential ‘list of hate’ has even mysteriously changed, meaning that the objection to the judges’ nomination is driven more by personal pique rather than principle.”
The appointed judges were sworn in on Friday at State House despite opposition from the Law Society of Kenya and Katiba Institute.
Katiba Institute had unsuccessfully attempted to stop the swearing-in pending appointment of the six judges that were left out by the President.
Representatives from the two bodies had termed the move by President Kenyatta as cherry-picking, saying the swearing-in of the 34 would violate the Constitution as well as the rights of the remaining six.
Justice George Odunga and Joel Ngugi were among a five-judge bench of the High Court that recently declared President Kenyatta’s pet project, Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), unconstitutional, null and void.