Day four of the search for CJ; funny Justice Marete faces the JSC interviewing panel

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By James Macharia 

The question as to why he arrested and punished court staff dominated day 4 of Judicial Service Commission, when Justice Marete Njagi appeared before the panel to seek the position to be Kenya’s next Chief Justice.

In his defense, he said that other officers had tried to curb the rampant noise along the court corridors, but for six months, their attempts were futile. He did it once and for all by arresting and punishing staff for the same.

In this case, he heard the matters.

“There was noise along the corridors and I was not able to continue, so I sent a clerk to bring the person making noise and he was finally charged with contempt,” Marete said during his interview on Thursday.

He added that he was forced to halt the proceedings first and dealt with the matter, and then the hearings resumed.

“…I stopped the court, deferred proceedings and dealt with the matter….and we resumed court,” he said.

Justice Marete also found himself in a hard task of explaining what informed his verdict on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), a case that he himself was involved as authority in a different case which involved the Maasai Mara University.

While quoting the TSC verdict he had referred to the judge who made the decision as a good friend of his and a brother.

He claimed to be a literature teacher, scrapping off the issues of perception on his use of language.

“It’s a question of expression throughout our jurisprudence. I haven’t found anyone who’d good determination on retirement. It was beautiful and nice. I am a student of literature and I believe in expression. It could be an issue if you are a simpleton,” he said.

Justice Marete turned dramatic when he reiterated on his capability of handling the job and that even his coffee shamba would tell the same.

“I am capable of this job, even my coffee shamba will tell you I’m capable,” he said.

Despite of not having served in a big office, Justice Marete said that experience matters little and even gave examples of the first-time ministers in President Kenyatta’s regime had no past experience but manoeuvred through.

Due to that,he argued that he was equal to the task if appointed as CJ.

He said that he worked at Sheria house and that tells it all.

Justice Marete said that he ventured into the profession of Law upon realization that he was not meant to be a politician.

He also dismissed the link between the CJ and a legal practitioner.

“…I don’t see any link between being a CJ and legal practitioner. This is a public office any leader can lead particularly if you’re fast,” said the judge.

He said that Kenyans want him in the office of CJ.

“The voice of Kenyans is all over the air. It’s Marete they want. This is the man, the voice of Kenya,” said Justice Marete.

Asked again what experience he had that qualified him to be the next CJ, Justice Marete retorted that even Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta ascended to the throne with no experience!

Yesterday, Lady Justice Koome faced the interviewing panel.

Koome,who was third to be interviewed by the panel was for example required to explain the nature of biasness of the bench, which she was a member of, that heard the case relating to the 2017 presidential election.

Koome argued before the panel that her decisions have always been informed by public interest and promotion of rights. She also claims that she’s a staunch fighter for Human rights. Having an experience of 33 years as a legal practitioner, she said that she can effectively work with people from all backgrounds.

“Am a transformative and visionary leader who can easily work with people from all backgrounds,” she said.

Koome also touched on how she allowed the Anglo Leasing contracts’ audit for the sake of public interest. At this time, Koome was the head of Court of Appeal.

Lady Justice Martha Koome before the JSC panel on 14th March 2021

On Thursday, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu said that it was time that Judicial Service Commission, (JSC) that is currently conducting interviews to fill the post of the Chief Justice considered a woman to fill the position.

In a statement, Governor Ngilu opined that there could never be a better moment to have The First Woman Chief Justice in this country than right now when we are in the process of filling the position of the head of one of the three arms of Government.

“It is not lost on us that already the other two arms of Government namely, the Executive and the Legislature are headed and deputized by men. Also since the promulgation of the 2010 constitution the trend has been to have women deputize men as Chief Justice. It’s now time to have a woman leading the Judicial arm of government,” Ngilu said.

Ngilu further said that highly qualified, competent and experienced women candidates are being interviewed for the position of Chief Justice.

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