Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s job attracts eight contenders


Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga's job attracts eight contenders

The list of applicants for the Chief Justice’s job left vacant following the retirement of Dr. Willy Mutunga is growing, less than 48 hours to the deadline issued by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Supreme Court Judge Dr. Smokin Wanjala, former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and legal scholar Prof. Makau Mutua are among eight applicants in the Mutunga succession contest.

At least four judges have thrown their hats in the ring, to succeed their former boss at the helm of the Judiciary after JSC extended by 24 hours, the deadline for submission of applications for the Chief Justice’s slot.

Justice Smokin Wanjala, who is also a member of the JSC, will square it out with High Court Judge Mbogholi Msagha, who has been touted as the executive’s preferred candidate for the judiciary top job.

US-based legal scholar Prof. Makau Mutua, who often pens articles critical of the government in the local dailies, has also submitted his application. However, pundits say he could have a difficult time clinching the job that requires Parliamentary approval.

Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende is also in the race to succeed Mutunga, and so are Appellate Judges Alnashir Visram, David Maraga and Kihara Kariuki. Veteran legal scholar Nzamba Kitonga is also said to be in the race.

The deadline for submitting applications for the Deputy Chief Justice and Supreme Court Judge slots lapsed Wednesday evening. The race to succeed Kaplana Rawal, who was forced to proceed on retirement after attaining the age of 70, will be an all-female affair, with at least 4 Court of Appeal judges submitting their applications.

The scramble for the Supreme Court slot left vacant by Phillip Tunoi’s retirement has attracted a number of judges and legal practitioners, among them High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola and Appellate Judge Patrick Kiage.

The Judicial Service Commission says it will on Friday unveil a complete list of applicants for the three top slots in the Judiciary, and proceed on a retreat to sift the applications, and settle on a list of candidates who will be interviewed, shortlisted and submitted to Parliament for vetting.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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