Court extends orders barring JSC nominees from assuming office

A judge has extended an order stopping three Judicial Service Commission nominees from assuming office.

Justice John Mativo who issued the order on March 9, yesterday extended it to April 24. The extension means Olive Mugenda, Felix Koskei and Patrick Gichohi will neither be gazetted as JSC commissioners.

The Katiba Institute, led by Yash Pal Ghai, petitioned their nomination by President Uhuru Kenyatta. It wants the court to invalidate the nomination. The organisation says the nominations blur the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary. It will also undermine public perception on the independence of the Judiciary, the lobby group said.

Katiba Institute has raised separate objections to the nomination of the three. It says Gichohi was nominated by the President, contrary to the law that requires he be nominated by the Public Service Commission. The Institute accused Mugenda of wasting public resources. Those allegations have since been dismissed as nonfactual. The lobby accused Koskei of facing corruption allegations. The former Agriculture CS was dropped after being linked to graft.

Yesterday, Mugenda defended herself, saying she met all the criteria for nomination to the JSC. The former Kenyatta University VC said she faced the same allegations during vetting by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and gave satisfactory answers.

The committee dismissed the allegations against all the nominees.

Mugenda said the petition was informed by malice. She said it was unfair to be tried twice. She also told the court that she was rightfully nominated by the President and that no interview was required. Mugenda asked the court to dismiss the petition.

Both Gichohi and Koskei are yet to file their responses.



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