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Ex-CJ Mutunga takes on Uhuru on judges appointment

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to rescind his decision that barred the recent appointment of six Judges.

In an open letter to the Head of State, Mutunga said that the Presidents’ objection to the six judges’ nomination was driven by personal resentment and not principle.

“The scientific formulation in the Constitution on the appointment of judges was intended to be an antidote to this kind of whimsical and capricious presidential conduct as it is being seen in ugly display in this matter,” Mutunga said

His sentiments come days after the President gazetted the appointment of 34 out of the 40 judges nominated by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to join various courts, among them the Court of Appeal, in 2018.

According to Mutunga, there is a process of raising an issue against a sitting judge or a judicial officer, and that the judiciary’s independence is not negotiable.

“JSC has been tested on these issues and has dealt openly and fairly with complaints against judges of ranks even higher than the Court of Appeal… In the recruitment of the 41 judges, the president did not present any adverse reports at the appropriate (sic) leaving JSC with no option but to make recommendations for appointment… That points to bad faith, and most likely, the absence of any actionable information on the judges,” Mutunga added.

Mutunga urged the president to immediately appoint the judges as stipulated in the Constitution.

“The president must resist the temptation to be garlanded in the pettiness of performing power, particularly by those who have built a thriving pettiness cottage industry, completely consumed by the pursuit of a personal vendetta at the expense of national good,” he said.