The judiciary has suspended all the court of appeal sittings outside Nairobi. This means that all court of appeal proceedings in the Malindi, Nyeri and Kisumu courts of appeal have been postponed from January 13, 2020 until a shortage of judges at the Appellate court has been addressed.
The judges stationed at Mombasa and Kisumu will relocate to Nairobi with effect from that date. The other affected court station i.e. Nyeri will be served from Nairobi albeit circuit sessions will be conducted once a month to each station. To note is that the Nyeri Court of Appeal had previously been suspended for similar reasons.
Hon Justice Mr. William Ouko has attributed this shortage to retirement of judges, appointment of judges to other officers, decentralization of the appeal court and the recent death of Prof Justice Otieno Odek. In April 2018, Justice William Ouko stated that the exit of AG Paul Kihara, CJ David Maraga and DCJ Philomena Mwilu as court of appeal judges left a huge gap as their positions were yet to be filled.
“With passage of time, the Court of Appeal judges number has shrunk from 27 to 15 today following retirement of several Judges, appointment of others to (other) higher Government offices, and this week, the sudden death of Justice Odek,” read the statement.
Justice Ouko further stated that with three judges occupied somewhere else, they only remain with 12 judges creating a huge backlog of cases that await determination.
“The 15 Judges include the President of the Court, the Court’s Representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Director of the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI). In effect therefore, the country has only 12 Judges in the Court of Appeal who sit full-time.”
Late this year the Judicial Service Commission forwarded appellate judges nominees to President Uhuru Kenyatta. However, through the office of the Head of Public Service, the president revealed that some of the nominees had integrity concerns hence why they he had declined to appoint the judges.
These judges were Msagha Mbogholi, Aggrey Muchelule, Francis Tuiyot, Hellen Omondi, Pauline Nyamweya, Weldon Korir, Jessie Wanjiku Lesiit, Mumbi Ngugi, George Odunga and Joel Ngugi.
Last week 5 appellate court judges were given state commendations. Hon Justce Githinji Erastus was awarded the Chief of order of the burning spear (CBS) whereas Justice Makhandia, Justice Musinga D. Kilo, Justice Kairu, Lady Justices Agnes Murgor and Lady Justice Jamila Wambui were awarded the Elder of order of burning spear (EBS).
On Friday December 20, 2019 the Court of Appeal upheld High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling on suspension of governors facing graft charges. Lady Justice Jamila Mohammed read the judgement on behalf of Judges David Musinga, Steven Gatembu and Agnes Murgor.
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