Chief Justice David Maraga has criticised proposals presented to the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) taskforce regarding the structure of the Judiciary.
Through his Twitter handle on Thursday, March 26, the CJ had singled out proposals made by Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and another by the Law Society of Kenya.
Speaker Muturi, in his submission to the task force, had identified the composition, role and powers of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), appointment and removal of judges and separation of powers between the arms of government as needing amendments.
“These suggestions that the Executive and the Legislature should have a substantive role in the appointment and removal of judges are dangerous and retrogressive.
“The speaker of the National Assembly has proposed to the BBI that sitting judges and magistrates should not be members of JSC,” CJ Maraga stated.
Speaker Muturi further proposed that Parliament forwards names of those they deem fit to serve as Supreme Court judges after vetting, and the president may appoint any on the approval of Parliament.
This arising from allegations that the Judiciary shields and safeguards appointments filed against sitting judges and magistrates.
“Evidence further belies the carefully manufactured perception that JSC cushions the existing members of the Judiciary from competition from outsiders in the appointments to higher offices, especially those of judges,” Maraga stated.
Maraga further noted that LSK had petitioned to review the composition of JSC, given some judges were still sitting in the commission despite legal petitions filed against them.
Most notably, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji filed a petition against Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu over allegations of failure to remit taxes, forgery and authoring a false document.
However, Mwilu still sits in the commission after a bench of five judges dismissed Haji’s charge against her. The court then ruled that the DPP had illegally obtained evidence against Mwilu.
On these allegations, Maraga stated that that the accusations were non-factual and biased, with less regard for the fundamental importance of the 2010 Constitution.
“There is no evidence that judicial officers and judges in the JSC have protected their own when discharging its appointive or disciplinary roles,” Maraga stated.