Court of appeal in limbo as fate of proposed judges hangs in balance

The Judiciary building in Nairobi.The court of appeal is currently in Limbo over a human resource shortage PHOTO COURTESY

Operations at the Court of appeal are currently in limbo more than seven months after the Judicial service commission submitted to the president the names of 11 judges who are supposed to be appointed in office.

The names submitted to the president are those of justices: Tuiyot Francis, Omondi Hellen, Justice Nyamweya Pauline, Korir Weldon, Msangah Mbogholi, Justice Muchelule Aggrey, Dr.Kibaya Laibuta, Jessie Lesiit, Ngugi Grace Mumbi, George Odunga and Joel Ngugi.

However, the president has not appointed them over reports some from the National Intelligence Service where the judges are mentioned.

The reports have culminated into a blame game between the JSC and the Law Society of Kenya and the NIS with the former parties insisting that the latter ought to have submitted the reports during the interview process.

In December, court of appeal judges serving outside Nairobi were recalled back to Nairobi over financial and human resource constraints.

The recall came just a few weeks after the death of court of appeal judge Otieno Odek who passed away at his house in Kisumu.

The situation which has raised fears that it might trigger a serious backlog of cases has been made worse by the retirement of judges Judges Philip Waki, Alnashir Visram, GBM Kariuki, and Erastus Githinji all who were serving in the court of appeal and the appointment of justice Paul Kihara as the attorney general.

On Monday, officials of the Law Students Society of Kenya (LSSK) urged president Uhuru Kenyatta to expedite the appointment of the 11 court of appeal Judges as recommended by judicial service commission JSC, so as to ease the pressure and minimize cases backlog in the courts.

Addressing members of the fourth estate in Nairobi, LSSK chair John Wangai said that there is increase of backlog of cases in the courts of appeal due to the delayed appointment of the new court of appeal judges by the president.

” Litigants have started feeling the heat, as the court has to postpone cases due to the inability of the existing judges to serve the whole country which has delayed justice amidst the saying justice delayed is justice denied,” He said.

The chair further added that, delayed hearing and determination of cases is not only a delayed justice to the aggrieved parties but also means higher spending on legal costs.

Editing by Janet Murikira