The Constitutional court has pushed the hearing of a case on President Kibaki's controversial nominations to justice and budget positions to March 2.
Kenyans will therefore have to wait longer for direction on the matter, in a development that now sees the country headed to having an acting Chief Justice as the incumbent Justice Evan Gicheru must leave office on Sunday, February 27.
President Kibaki last Friday rejected a ruling by parliamentary Speaker Kenneth Marende that the nominations were unconstitutional. The Head of State told a Press conference he will wait for the court matter to conclude before deciding to restart the process afresh.
In the case, some non governmental organisations have sought to have the nominations quashed on the grounds they are unconstitutional.
High Court judge Justice Daniel Musinga who initially handled the matter ruled that President Kibaki's move was illegal, but the case has been assigned to a three-judge bench for full hearing.
It would be heard by judges Kalpana Rawal, George Dulu and Luka Kimaru. Fourteen groups who sought to be enjoined in the case were given seven days to file written submissions.
On Monday, lawyers accused Chief Justice Gicheru is accused of trying to rush the case.
Lawyer Alice Wahome representing the group of NGO’s who moved to court to challenge the nominations said the case was not mature for hearing yet Justice Evans Gicheru placed the dates.
The Attorney General Amos Wako - through state lawyer, Wanjiku Mbiyu - maintained his previous position that the Judicial Service Commission was not consulted and that that the nominations were not gender sensitive.
The hearing is now likely to take longer after the 14 additional groups were allowed to join as interested parties.
Among those who will now be represented in the case are the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) political party and the Federation of Women lawyers (FIDA).
The Party of National Unity (PNU) already joined the case last week. The case was filed by eight non-governmental organisations saying the nominations were made in total disregard of provisions of the Constitution requiring consultation and consideration of gender equity.
The case by the organisations was prompted by President Kibaki's nomination of Justice Alnashir Visram as CJ, Prof Githu Muigai as AG, Mr Kioko Kilukumi as DPP and Mr William Kirwa as Controller of Budget.
The three judges, Kalpana Rawal, Luka Kimaru and George Dulu have directed the Attorney General to respond to the petition before the end of the day. The other parties have been given seven days to file their papers.
The judges have also urged the parties to stay away from the political issues surrounding the case.
“This court is concerned about the legal issues in the petition and not the political aspect of it,” said Justice Kimaru.
The case was referred to the CJ by High Court judge Daniel Musinga who had declared the nominations unconstitutional after he found that the President did not consider gender parity.