Justice Nduma Nderi quizzed over relocation to Swaziland in the 90s


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Judge Nduma Nderi in a file image.

The race to succeed former CJ David Maraga was in top gear on Monday with Justice Nduma Nderi (Employment and Labour Relations judge) taking the stage as the sixth candidate.

He appeared before the Judicial Service Commission for the interview that took several hours.

Justice Nderi is one of ten candidates being considered for the position after three initial applicants were dropped.

On Monday, the judge was at pains to defend his work-pressure threshold, given the fact that he fled the country in the 1990s due to what he termed as State intimidation.

In response to JSC commissioner Mohammed Warsame’s question about whether he would stay given the strained relationship between the State and the Judiciary, Justice Nderi stated that the 2010 constitution heralded a new era.

“Times have changed under the new constitution, at the time I had received real threats while discharging my duty. I am very courageous. A job had also arisen in Swaziland and it was an opportunity for me. Very few would have dared to take the role I took at the time,” Justice Nderi said.

He continued: “Having received real threats in these corridors of the court, I was a young lawyer you would understand why I did what I did, ”

The judge, who left Kenya at the age of 28, told the panel that the country’s situation was so bad at the time, that his friends did not attend his wedding at St. Paul’s Chapel in Nairobi for fear of being targeted by the State.

According to the judge, the then CID boss was feared by all and sundry and summons from him rarely went well.

Justice Nderi had been summoned by the then Criminal Investigations Department to explain the scope of his work

Meanwhile, having a Land Court in every county and increasing the number of judges in these courts would be at the top his priorities should he be appointed the Chief Justice.

He told the panel that he would also upscale and consolidate the gains made so far in the access to justice and delivery of justice to the people of Kenya in an expeditious, fair, equitable manner.

In1992, Justice Nderi relocated to Swaziland, where he was appointed as a crown counsel in the government’s prosecution office, a position he held until he was promoted to senior crown counsel and, later, to a Judge and President of the Swaziland Industrial Court.

In 2006, he returned to Kenya and worked for the Federation of Kenya Employers as the head of legal and industrial relations (FKE).

He would later move to Tanzania as the East African Community’s principal legal counsel.

Justice Nderi, who has over three decades of legal experience, was appointed as Judge in the Employment and Labour Relations Courts in 2012

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