Judicial Appointments in Kenya…The Issues at Hand

The Government of Kenya has lately been looking for people to appoint as Chief Justice, Assistant Chief Justice and Director of Public Prosecutions. So far, public interviews have been held by the Judicial Service Commission appointees and commendations were given for Dr. Mutunga, Ms Nancy Baraza and Mr. Tobiko respectively.

The three have been approved by the Constitution Oversight and Implementation Committee (CIOC). The matter will now be passed on to Parliament for debate on Thursday.

  • Judicial Appointments – Chief Justice

The approval of Dr Willy Mutunga as Chief Justice has happened with much heat and controversy. The 61 year old lawyer was jailed in 1980 for demanding that Ngugi wa Thiong’o be reinstated. Dr. Mutunga was detained for opposing political oppression in 1982, indicators of his ‘reformist’ tendencies from his youth. He has served as Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya.

Dr Willy Mutunga thumb Judicial Appointments in Kenya...The Issues at HandHe served as Chairman of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC). He opposed titanium mining and tribal discrimination, while demanding the settlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s).His role in the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (4 C’s) gave birth to National Convention Executive Council (NCEC). Later on, through mass action, NCEC demanded for minimum constitutional reforms. Kenya got a new constitution in the referendum in 2010.

On the flip side, however, Dr. Mutunga’s liberal stand as far as morals and family life is concerned are of great concern. He has advocated for individuals to practice reproductive health without fear (abortion and unwanted pregnancies!). He implies that condoms should be used in schools in Kenya, owing to the AIDS scourge. He stated that sex education is not properly taught in Kenyan schools. Understandably, the church is concerned about these moral issues.

Dr Willy Mutunga is in the process of divorcing his second wife. He was involved in registering a lobby for gays and lesbians, Kenya Gay and Lesbian Trust in 2006. He wears an earring based on “superstition”, and has sworn not to remove it. He would rather shun his appointment. Doesn’t character matter, in addition to one’s credentials?

  • Appointment of Deputy Chief Justice

Ms Nancy Baraza’s appointment has not been without controversy either. She is a founder member of the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya, FIDA. In addition, she runs a law firm, and is the vice chairwoman of Kenya Law Reform Commission.

Nancy Baraza thumb Judicial Appointments in Kenya...The Issues at HandShe opted to pursue her on going thesis on the rights of gays and lesbians for her doctorate degree. Has her liberalism caused her to embrace these Western values without realizing it? Many Kenyans in the Diaspora have… She is aspiring to Kenya’s Deputy Chief Justice for crying out loud! She could have pursued other areas in her studies.

  • Appointment of Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP)

KERIAKO TOBIKO thumb Judicial Appointments in Kenya...The Issues at HandThe appointment of Mr. Keriako Tobiko has also had its heat, owing to corruption in the nomination process. Mr. Sammy Kirui, a former PS, alleged that he was offered a bribe to nominate Tobiko. On the same note, rumors are rife that Dr. Mutunga and Ms. Baraza were nominated long before…by foreign governments, and bribes given to the Judicial Service members to ensure they got the positions…scary, isn’t it?

What’s your view on the Appointments?

The CIOC did not come up with alternative persons to fill the positions. That does not leave much of a choice for MPs…With a CJ and Deputy CJ who are pro ‘gayism’ and pro abortion; I wonder what reforms they will begin with? Incidentally, both are divorced. In my opinion, judicial and all appointments, whether in public or private office, should be based not only on credentials, but character and beliefs of the individuals.

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