In a press conference that was organized by Kenyans for Peace without Truth and Justice and other stakeholders, a statement was issued in regard to the decision that was made yesterday by Justice George Odunga concerning the ongoing recruitment process for the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and judge of the supreme court being handled by JSC.
Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance, Arnold Magina, Yash Pal Ghai (Katiba Institute) and Samuel Mohochi (ICJ Kenya) separately moved to court seeking orders to compel the JSC to invalidate the shortlisting for having been carried out in an irrational and arbitrary way and to release information on why the Judicial Service Commission had disqualified certain candidates.
Following the hearing of the petition, Justice George V. Otunga ruled that the Judicial Service Commission review all applications for conformity with minimum constitutional requirements and that they may reject those that do not meet the minimum criteria for shortlisting.
He further ruled that the JSC is obliged to give Kenyan citizens the necessary information.
The judge also found that the JSC’s decision to shortlist some candidates for only some of the positions was irrational. According to KPTJ, some applications were rejected before the interview stage and yet had met minimum requirements, an action that was deemed to be outside the law.
The court compelled the JSC to reconsider afresh the names of the applicants who were rejected and communicate its decision to affected parties. According to Samuel Mohochi, “At times the interview questions that were asked appeared pedestrian, and thus elicited illogical responses.”
The Commissions demanded that the JSC raises its standards and remain guided by the constitution, of which they are already in breach of. According to them, the JSC should uphold their individual oath of office and conduct the interviews with the seriousness they deserve and avoid subjecting senior judicial officers to public ridicule and embarrassment. They insisted that the judiciary must be fiercely independent, given that it’s an independent arm of the state, not the government. “We must get it right or we are doomed,” said Ndungu Wainaina.