The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has warned the president against using Chief Justice Maraga’s name to campaign in Kisii.
In a statement, the body, which interviewed Maraga for his current position, stated that the CJ deserved the seat after he trounced other candidates to emerge the best.
Below is JSC’s statement:
JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION
Monday, April 10, 2017
JSC STATEMENT ON HEAD OF STATE’S REMARKS ON THE APPOINTMENT OF THE CHIEF JUSTICE
The Judicial Service Commission met today under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court, Hon David Maraga, EGH. It was the first full sitting of the Commission since March, 2017 and was convened to deliberate on a range of issues, among them the implications of some recent political events.
Today’s meeting took particular note of the statement reportedly made by the Head of State on March 21, 2017 in Nyamira County, and thereafter repeated in several print media, including the Sunday Nation of 9th April 2017. It was reported that the Head of State had appealed to members of the Kisii community to vote for his Jubilee Party, partly because he has appointed one of their own as Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya.
JSC has had the opportunity to review and evaluate the statement by the Head of State and takes the view that the remarks during the said political meeting could, and had in fact, been misconstrued to imply a political hand in the appointment of the Chief Justice. This is unfortunate, erroneous and substantially misleading to the public.
Article 166(1)(a) of the Constitution provides that the Head of State shall appoint the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice in accordance with the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission, and subject to the approval of the National Assembly. Kenyans are aware that the Commission, in exercise of its express and exclusive constitutional mandate granted under Article 172 of the Constitution, conducted the recruitment through a transparent, accountable and competitive process as laid down by the Constitution between August and October, 2016. JSC determined the winner and made the requisite recommendation for the appointment of Hon David Kenani Maraga as Chief Justice to the Head of State, in line with the Constitution
It is clear from the foregoing that the constitutional role of the Head of State on the appointment of the Chief Justice is exercised within the strict and limited provision of Article 166. There is neither room nor opportunity for the President to discharge this function in a political manner. Any implication, deliberate or inadvertent, that the appointment of the CJ was part of a political scheme is a grave distortion of law and fact.
For avoidance of doubt, JSC reiterates that the independence of the Judiciary as clearly set out in Article 160 is fundamental, paramount and not negotiable. The Judiciary, in exercise of its authority, is only subject to the Constitution and the law, and not to any person or authority.
We trust that this statement sets the record straight.
ANNE A. AMADI, CBS
Judicial Service Commission