The Judiciary has distanced itself from reports that Chief Justice David Maraga during a meeting with the new Senate leadership yesterday suggested that interviews for disputed 41 judges could be done a fresh.
In a statement on Monday night, the Judiciary termed the report aired by Citizen TV as “inaccurate and misleading”.
The Judiciary’s Public Affair and Communication department insisted that the meeting between Maraga and Majority leader Samuel Poghisio and Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata was “an ordinary courtesy call”.
“The Honourable Chief Justice did not suggest during the meeting, or at any time, that a fresh interview process is a possible solution. The Hon. Chief Justice, during his public statement on this issue, reiterated that His Excellency the President is bound by the Constitution and existing court orders to appoint the 41 Judges, as recommended by the Judicial Service Commission, ” the statement reads.
” …The meeting today was an ordinary courtesy call by the new leaders of the Senate, a routine practice for newly appointed officeholders. ”
Addressing members of the press yesterday outside the Supreme Court shortly after the meeting, Maraga indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to explore ways of cooperation between the Senate and the Judiciary.
“They requested to see me this morning, you know they were recently elected into office. It’s just a courtesy call,” said Maraga.
“We have discussed quite a number of matters; how the Judiciary can cooperate and work with the Senate. The two bodies are independent but independence does not mean we work in silos.”
Oh his part, Poghisio, who doubles up as West Pokot Senator said, “This is actually one of our first assignments. We really wanted to have a moment to visit the head of the Judiciary and also know how we can work together; there are many issues that come to Senate, there are many issues that come here.”
To some, however, considering the fact that the meeting came just days after Maraga accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of derailing the process of swearing in the 41 judges, there is more than meets the eye.
The CJ said the head of state was responsible for the backlog experienced in Kenyan courts further noting that the president’s refusal to obey court orders is a recipe for anarchy.
“The President has persisted in his refusal despite orders in two cases requiring him to swear in those judges within 14 days, ” said Maraga.
The President had apparently refused to swear in the judges as some have “integrity issues”, an argument that had been rejected by the court.
“The courts ruled that the president cannot change the list, review it or reject some names. He cannot decide cherry pick from the list of nominees. Both courts ruled the President must appoint the persons as recommended and forwarded to him by the JSC,” said Maraga.