A section of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has accused Chief Justice David Maraga and his deputy Philomena Mwilu of frustrating efforts to recruit a new CJ.

Maraga is said to have sent a  Whatsapp message on Friday indicating he had cancelled a key meeting meant to further deliberations on the commencement of recruitment of a new Chief Justice.

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) male representative to JSC Macharia Njeru in a letter on Friday said a commission comprising of Mercy Deche, Justice Warsame, High Court judges David Majanja and Elizabeth Ominde and himself had been tasked by JSC to come up with a roadmap for the recruitment of the CJ and transitional arrangements.

Maraga is scheduled to retire on January 21, 2020 with his succession debate now taking the centre stage of happenings around the top Judiciary organs.

According to Njeru,  JSC held an initial meeting on September 30, 2020 where the commencement of the recruitment of the next Chief Justice was recommended. The proposal, however, met opposition from CJ Maraga and the Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Njeru stated that after several hours of fruitless discussions, the CJ asked the meeting be adjourned to October 16,- this Friday only to cancel it via a Whatsapp message.

“To the surprise of the commissioners, the Chief Justice on Friday by WhatsApp message sent at 17.30pm unilaterally cancelled the meeting scheduled for Friday. The commissioners’ protestations have fallen on deaf ears,” wrote Njeru.

              Legal Confrontation

LSK president Nelson Havi on Friday threatened to recall its representation from JSC, accusing Njeru and Mercy Deche of insubordination of the LSK.

Havi termed the attempts to initiate recruitment of a new CJ as unlawful and unconstitutional. According to Havi, Article 30 of the JSC Act prohibits such actions unless a vacancy is in the office of the Chief Justice.

“We are aware of attempts to amend the law with the selfish and myopic intention of targeting Justices David Maraga and Philomena Mwilu who appear to have been shackled with the highest blame for the September 1, 2017 decision annulling the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Havi stated in a press briefing on Friday.