JSC makes U-turn, allows public access to judges’ interviews


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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has bowed to public pressure and allowed the public and media access to the ongoing interviews for judges of the Court of Appeal.

The exercise started as a closed-door affair after Chief Justice David Maraga kicked the media out of the boardroom where the interviews are being held.

“We will adhere to what the constitution says,” CJ Maraga said on Monday before asking the media to leave the boardroom.

The Court of Appeal has an approved limit of 30 judges, but only has 19.

The number will reduce later this year when two senior Court of Appeal judges, Erastus Githinji and Alnashir Visram, retire.

Thirty-five candidates were shortlisted by the JSC and have been lined up for interview between June 17 and July 1.

The candidates include High Court and Labour Court judges as well as lawyers who meet the criteria stipulated in the constitution.

First before the panel of interviewers on Tuesday will be Justice Weldon Korir (High Court), followed by Justice Olao Boaz (High Court), Mr Ireri Elijah Njagi, Justice Maureen Onyango (Labour Court), Mr Kariuki Mwangi, Justice George Odunga (High Court), and Justice Stephen Radido (Labour Court).

High Court judges Abida Ali-Aroni, Msagha Mbogholi, Aggrey Muchelule, and Mumbi Ngugi were interviewed by the commission on June 17.

All the JSC members were present when the interviews started on Monday.

The interviewers are: Justice Maraga (chairperson), Mercy Deche (vice-chairperson), Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justice Mohammed Warsame, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki, Ms Emily Ominde, Mr Patrick Gichohi, Felix Koskei, Prof Olive Mugenda, Justice David Majanja, Mr Macharia Njeru, and Ms Anne Amadi (JSC secretary).

The Court of Appeal has six registries across the country, namely; Nairobi, Mombasa, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret.

The court handles appeals arising from rulings made in the High Court, Labour Court and tribunals.