Linda Katiba strongly rejects President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cherry picking impunity in appointment of Judges. The constitution does not donate any mandate to the president to perform any other act upon [receiving] the names recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) except to appoint them.
President plays only a ceremonial part in judicial appointments. He is constitutionally obliged to enroll those recruited by the JSC. President Kenyatta has knowingly and intentionally be violating Constitution and disregarding Courts’ orders in appointment of Honorable 41 judges’ by JSC.
The hurriedly appointment of his selected judges excluding others is highly suspect and speaks to attempt by the President to influence appointment of his ‘chosen’ judges to hear BBI Constitution Amendment judgement at the Court of Appeal.
Linda Katiba finds conspicuous silence of Chief Justice Martha Koome deeply troubling when the credibility, integrity and reputation of Judiciary and judges is being put into question and disparaged by President whose has disgraceful utter disdain for Constitution and the rule of law.
According to different Courts’ rulings President Kenyatta has no constitutional power to review, reconsider or decline to appoint judges who have been recommended by the JSC. The drastic appointment of Judges by President is significant following many more than 2 years of silence since the JSC’s recommendations for appointment.
The appointment of judges should be immediate and as soon as recommendations are forwarded to the President by the JSC. The process should take no longer than 14 days.
President has shown a discernible historical pattern of delay in appointing judges recommended by the JSC. This is a conspiracy by the President to sabotage and frustrate the judiciary in executing its constitutional mandate to the people of Kenya. The process of recruitment of judges is transparent and participatory with full Presidency involvement. It is crucial to note that the Attorney General sits at JSC.
The purported National Intelligence Service (NIS) claims on certain appointed judges by JSC were frivolous, malicious and unfounded. NIS failed to provide information it claimed to have to JSC during interviews and vetting of judges. Further JSC wrote to and demanded that NIS give evidence it had against judges with no avail. NIS has become political actor contrary to Article 238 of the Constitution which binds it to non-partisan politics. This raises serious questions on integrity and ethics of the NIS.
Consequently, Linda Katiba declared that President Kenyatta’s delay in appointment of judges has been unjustifiable, unreasonable and unconstitutional. The President is constitutionally bound to appoint judges listed by the JSC without undue delay. His failure to do so has been full violation of a number of sections Constitution, the Judicial Service Act, oath of his office, and Courts’ rulings. This makes it treasonous and impeachable offences for President Kenyatta.