Nairobi — President William Ruto was set to appoint six Court of Appeal judges on day one of taking over as Kenya’s fifth president..
The judges were recommended for appointment six years ago, but immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta declined to appoint them, saying there were adverse reports against them from the intelligence service.
But when he took an oath of office Tuesday, President Ruto said his first official task will be to appoint the judges.
“To further demonstrate my commitment to the Independence of the judiciary, this afternoon, I will appoint the six judges already nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal which was done three years ago by the Judicial service commission,” he said.
The Head of State said he will preside over the swearing-in ceremony of the six judges Wednesday.
In June last year, President Ruto’s predecessor appointed 34 out of the 41 JSC recommended judges and left out Justices Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir and Prof Joel Ngugi who were to join the Court of Appeal, and Chief Magistrate Makori Evans Kiago and High Court Registrar Judith Omange who were promoted by the JSC to serve as High Court judges.
Kenyatta declined to appoint the judges, citing a confidential intelligence report which was never made public.
Justices Msagha Mbogholi, Omondi Hellen Amollo, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyott, Nyamweya Pauline Nyaboke, Jessie Lesiit and Laibuta Imaana are among the seven who were appointed to the Appeal Court in a gazette notice dated June 3.
The delay in the appointment of the Judges had caused frosty relations between the Executive and the Judiciary after former Chief Justice David Maraga decried the crisis caused by the inadequate judges in superior courts, while Attorney General Kihara Kariuki insisted the President will not appoint judges with questionable character adding that the refusal to appoint the JSC nominees was within the law.
The Judges who were recommended by JSC in July 2019 for appointment to the Court of Appeal, the Environment and Land Court and the Employment and Labor Relations Court formed the basis of Maraga’s frustrations.
In a Gazette Notice, the ex-president appointed 18 judges to the Environment and Land Court and nine Employment and Labour Land Court.
Justices Baari Christine Noontatua, Gakeri Jacob Kariuki, Keli Jemima Wanza, Mwaure Ann Ngibuini, Matanga Bernard Odongo Manani, Rutto Stella Chemtai, Kebira Ocharo, Kitiku Agnes Mueni-Nzei, Nderitu David Njagi, have been appointed to be Judges of the Employment and Labour Relations Court
Meanwhile, Justices Mboya Oguttu Joseph, Naikuni Lucas Leperes, Mwanyale Michael Ngolo, Addraya Edda Dena, Kimani Lilian Gathoni, Kamau Joseph Mugo, Wabwoto Karoph Edward, Koross Anne Yatich Kipingor, Gicheru Maxwell Nduiga, Mogeni Ann Jacqueline Akhalemesi, Ongarora Fred Nyagaka, Christopher Kyania Nzili, Mugo David Mwangi, Omollo Lynette Achieng’, Washe Emmanuel Mutwana, Nyukuri Annet, Murigi Theresa Wairimu, Asati Esther, to be Judges of the Environment and Land Court.