JSC: Next CJ will not be an activist, entertain cartels

The next Kenya Chief Justice will not be an activist, but one who will be able to tame cartels, Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has said.

JSC officials today told Citizen TV that due to vast experience and lessons learnt from hiring CJ and DCJ in the past, they are looking for someone who will bring the entire team together, somebody with a high record of performance who will be easily accepted by peers.

“We are looking for a CJ who will not be an activist but still not one who will sit down and allow cartels to thrive,” Prof Margaret Kobia, Vice-chairperson of the JSC said.

Former CJ Willy Mutunga had been accused by his peers of playing out to activism in the judiciary and benefiting from the bandit’ money in the government after telling a Dutch newspaper early this year that Kenyans are at war with mafia-style cartels run by political bosses and corrupt businesspeople-a mafia-style criminals similar to Al Capone’s mob of the 1920s America, and that this cartel “collects millions every day”.

“I hope you will dedicate the early chapters of the book to how you transitioned from rights activist to the position of Chief Justice. I suggest you name the third chapter of the book Working with Bandits,” Mombasa-based human right activist and Ujamaa Centre Executive Director told Mutunga.

While accepting elements of corruption in the Judiciary, Kobia said that, just like the entire public service, the JSC is struggling to deal with corruption so that the organ may tax credulity and be acceptable to many Kenyans.

“We have also been sued by judicial officers who have been fired for being involved in corruption. The entire public service is struggling to deal with corruption. We cannot run away from that,” she said arguing that cartels come in because they find a weakness.

JSC Secretary and Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi, urged Kenyans not to be worried that the JSC has not received any applications for the next CJ and DCJ, stating they expect to get most of the applications in the last days.

According to Amadi, the commission has put up structures to help in hiring the next Judiciary boss, including the participation of the public in the process. “The role of the public will be very critical in the hiring process of the next CJ.”

“The constitution requires that we portray the face of Kenya….We cannot have the three arms of government headed by people from the same community. Competence is key,” said Amadi, adding that they are focused on getting the right CJ regardless of the political divide

“The JSC is very aware that there will be political pressure but we will not give in.”


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