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Kibaki names new Chief Justice as ODM protests

Friday January 28 2011

Court of Appeal judge Justice Alnashir Visram.
Court of Appeal judge Justice Alnashir Visram.
Prof Githu Muigai who is President Kibaki nominee for Attorney General.
Prof Githu Muigai who is President Kibaki nominee for Attorney General.
Mr Kioko Kilukumi who is President Kibaki nominee for Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Kioko Kilukumi who is President Kibaki nominee for Director of Public Prosecutions.
By ERIC SHIMOLI [email protected] AND EMEKA MAYAKA GEKARA [email protected]

Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Ramazanadi Magan Visram was on Friday night named Chief Justice to replace Mr Justice Evan Gicheru.

President Kibaki also nominated law professor Githu Muigai to take over from Mr Amos Wako as Attorney General.

The President also proposed Mr Kioko Kilukimi, a Nairobi lawyer for the new powerful post of Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Corporation, Mr William Kirwa, was proposed for the new position of Controller of Budget.

But the nominations threatened to divide the government further and provoke a major fight for nomination in parliament after ODM rejected them.

Lands Minister James Orengo protested the nomination of the candidates saying Mr Odinga had not been consulted.

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Addressing a swift press conference, Lands Minister James Orengo said that Mr Odinga had advised that the release of the names be delayed awaiting further deliberations by after the two coalition leaders return home from the AU summit in Addis Ababa.

He said that the PM’s position was communicated to the President through Public Service head Francis Muthaura.

“However Mr Muthaura called Mohammed Isahakia (the PS in the office of Prime Minister) yesterday (Friday) afternoon to inform him that the President had made a decision that the names of the nominees be announced.”

The split of the key appointments effectively draws battle lines in Parliament between the President Kibaki’s PNU and Mr Odinga’s Orange movement.

The new Constitution mandates the President to make the appointment in consultation with the Prime Minister.

After identifying their choice, the candidate’s name will be sent to Parliament for debate and approval before the President makes the final appointment.

Another source disputed that Prime Minister Raila Odinga had been consulted before the nominations.

The source who is familiar with the PM’s diary said President Kibaki and Mr Odinga had discussed the subject but not the names. “The names were to be discussed in the next weeks,” the source said.

The PM’s office had been informed of the pending announcement earlier in the day.

With ODM MPs from Rift Valley having rebelled against Mr Odinga and depending with whether the PNU coalition remains united, the vote in parliament could be close.

But the spectre of the matter being bogged down in the courts could delay the process if ODM decides to mount a legal challenge against the nominations.

Earlier, there were expectations that a judge from the Commonwealth would be named as CJ to preside over the transition within the judiciary.

Mr Gicheru’s term was to end by February 27 under the new constitution which also provides for the vetting of judges and magistrates.

The changes are intended to clean up the Judiciary and prosecution services and demonstrate to the International Criminal Court that Kenya is capable of handing cases involving post-election violence suspects.

Mr Justice Visram graduated with a degree in law from the University of British Columbia in 1972. In 1978, he graduated with a second degree in law from University of British Columbia, Canada.

In 2006 he graduated with a Master of Laws degree in International Law from the University of Nairobi.While in practice, he specialised in commercial, corporate and civil law.

In June 1999, he was appointed Commissioner of Assize, and in March 2001, he was sworn in as a Judge of the High Court of Kenya; and in April 2009 as Judge of Appeal.

Prof Muigai holds LLB and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Nairobi and an LLM Degree from Columbia University School of Law, New York. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and a member of the American Association of Trial Lawyers.

In addition to the practice of law he is an Associate Professor of Public law in the school of law of the University of Nairobi. He specialises in Public law and trans-national legal practice. He is a recognized authority on business regulatory matters and in international commercial arbitration. He is an Associate professor at the University of Nairobi and an International Human Rights Lawyer and a Constitutional lawyer.

Mr Kilukumi graduated with an LLB from the University of Nairobi in 1990. Between 1990-1993, he worked with Kaplan and Stratton advocates. In 1993-1996, he was Public Prosecutor in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

He has been in private legal practice and part time lecturer in criminal litigation since 1996.

Mr Kirwa Holds an MBA in Banking and Finance and is holder of an MA in Agricultural Economics. He previously worked with Barclays bank as a senior manager.