LSK kicks up a fresh storm over vetting of CJ nominee Martha Koome

Justice Martha Koome is now the Chief Justice of the republic of Kenya

By Jackson Kairu

The emergence of Martha Koome as Kenya’s Chief Justice is being seen as a move by the executive to have a “safe” judge as head of the all-important Supreme court. She is likely to step into the shoes of now retired, fire-spitting Justice David Maraga. Justice Maraga made history when he overturned the 2017 presidential election result that had given incumbent President Uhuru victory after a 10-day hearing of a petition filed by the opposition and civil society

A landmark court decision by 5 judges rejecting the BBI bill to amend the 2010 constitution could be the dress rehearsal for the bruising battle on clearing chief justice nominee Martha Koome. The parliamentary Legal and Justice committee has already cleared the nomination of Martha Koome as Chief Justice.

LSK chaired by Nelson Havi is demanding to see the scorecard of all ten candidates interviewed for the position

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has weighed in with fresh revelations indicating that Koome a former FIDA activist did not score top marks at the Judicial Service Commission interviews. LSK chaired by Nelson Havi is now demanding for a scorecard of all ten candidates interviewed for the position.

In a letter to the judicial service commission, LSK expressed its displeasure with the nomination process, which they allege was not transparent and hurriedly conducted.

LSK now wants the judicial service commission to within seven days make public the performance matrix of each candidate as scored by each commission, failure to which they will petition the national assembly to remove JSC commissioners.

The LSK spanner in the works comes as women leaders widely cheered the nomination of Koome, a mother of 3, as CJ and called on the national assembly to expedite her vetting. But a cross section of Kenyans has faulted the hurried process to confirm the proposed new CJ to replaced retired David Maraga.

Many have raised eyebrows at the speed her nomination was “hurriedly’ endorsed at State House and the name forwarded to parliament for vetting. The hiccups in the Legal and justice committee that saw Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo replaced is understood to have been over quiet reservations about the nomination of Koome.

Kenyans from across the political divide have weighed in on the matter saying it was wrong for one region of the country to hold so many key positions in government.

Hardliners in ODM have quietly protested to former prime minister Raila Odinga, saying he should “read the writing on the wall” after 5 high court judges threw out BBI baby with the bath water!

Matters are expected to degenerate fast with many warning that the glue that has been holding President Uhuru and opposition leader Raila could come unstuck anytime.

Odinga in a show of fast changing stance condemned the police in recent by-elections in Bonchari for using unnecessary force and harassing politicians. This has raised eyebrows as police widely harassed the UDA candidate allied to deputy president William Ruto.

Despite ODM narrowly defeating UDA, it is instructive that Odinga is now speaking favourably on a Ruto-allied candidate!

Matters are not helped by the following list of key figures holding senior positions in government and parastatals. ODM is understood to have strongly rooted for respected Judge William Ouko to be appointed next CJ and according to LSK he may have scored much higher than Koome thus the demand for publication of JSC interviews grades.

LSK claims it would be a big mistake to deny qualified and more merited nominees for CJ “who scored highly” at the JSC interviews just to appease the gender rule.

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