The Chief Justice interviews have not been a walk in the park for some judges, with previous rulings coming back to haunt them.
Labour Court Judge Njagi Marete had a taste of it when he was questioned about his decision to charge a judiciary staffer with noise-making in 2016.
In 2016, he charged two Kericho Court staffers for contempt of court. The charges sheet stated that the two had been making noise in the corridors while a court was in session.
Justice Marete may have thought the incident went away until the staffer wrote to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) questioning the judge's ability to be Kenya's next Chief Justice.
Labour Court Judge Njagi Marete is interviewed for the position of Chief Justice on April 15, 2021. |Photo| Courtesy|
He accused Justice Marete of high-handedness.
When queried by the CJ interview panel led by acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on the accusations, the 51-year-old judge denied being high-handed.
He explained that his decision was informed by the staffer being a habitual noise-maker and refused to appear before the judge when he was summoned.
“This was not a one-day matter. It had continued for well over six months. On this day, we heard the noise and we called for the persons who responsible. One was brought and the other said nothing. I deferred the matter and got the person arrested. Otherwise, how would I have been able to deal with the noise? High-handedness and firmness are different,” Justice Marete explained.
He denied being an insider despite being in the judiciary for 10 years.
He described himself as a celebrity, promising to treat Judiciary staffers to buns and tea if appointed CJ.
Justice Marete assured he will clear the backlog in cases at the Judiciary as well as treat the staff well.
"...buy them to the management’s side if the Chief Justice emeritus gave them water and tea, buy them a bun," Justice Marete stated.
“I know my abilities and they have been tested right from day one at the Attorney General Chambers. I was a celebrity in terms of performance. My career has been shining and this makes me suitable for this kind of adventurous assignment,” he added.