The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Macharia Njeru has accused Chief Justice David Maraga of sabotaging the process of recruiting his successor.
Maraga, who assumed office in October 2016, is expected to proceed on terminal leave on December 15 and retire on January 15, 2021.
In a press statement on Friday, Njeru claimed that external and internal forces are working with the CJ to derail the process of recruiting his replacement.
The former Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) chairman accused the CJ, his deputy Philomena Mwilu, and Justice Mohamed Warsame of opposing the commencement of the recruitment process.
According to Njeru, the commission in its meeting held on September 16 passed a resolution appointing a committee led by the Vice-Chair of the Commission Hon Dr Mercy Deche with Hon Justice Mohammed Warsame, Hon Justice David Majanja, Hon Elizabeth Ominde and himself as members to among other things provide a road map for the recruitment of the Chief Justice and transitional arrangements.
“The Committee was given powers to co-opt any member of the Commission that it deemed necessary which it did by unanimously bringing in Hon Patrick Gichohi on account of his long public service experience both at parliament as the clerk to the National Assembly and past Commissioner at the Public service commission. The Committee was tasked by the Commission to submit its report on 30th September 2020, ” he said.
Njeru said the committee in its meeting held on September 21 resolved to among other things recommend to the full Commission immediate commencement of the process recruitment of the next Chief Justice including advertisement of the position.
“In the Commission’s meeting of 30th September 2020, the Committee presented its report. The commencement of recruitment process was opposed by the Chief Justice, the Hon Deputy Chief Justice and Justice Warsame, ” said Njeru.
After opposing the exercise, Njeru noted that Maraga went ahead to cancel a meeting that was scheduled for today, October 16, to deliberate on whether the CJ and his deputy should participate in the discussion of recruiting his successor as they are “already conflicted”.
“To the surprise of the Commissioners, the Chief Justice yesterday by WhatsApp message sent at 17.30 p.m. unilaterally cancelled the meeting scheduled for today. The Commissioners’ protestations have fallen on deaf ears, ” he said.
“It is clear that the Hon Chief Justice with a few others are hell-bent on derailing the orderly process of recruitment of his successor leaving the institution of the Judiciary in a crisis of leadership.
“The Commissioners will not allow any manner of influence whether external or internal. It is clear that a few elements in the Judiciary are attempting to control the process. It will not be surprising for litigation to be sponsored with Injunctions sought against the Commission to derail the recruitment process and determine who becomes the next Chief Justice.”