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JSC will take four months to replace CJ Mutunga

Wednesday May 11 2016

A student, Ms Suzanne Bosibori, sits on Chief Justice Willy Mutunga's chair when she viisted his office. The Judicial Service Commission announced on May 10, 2016 that Kenya's new Chief Justice will be in office by October this year. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A student, Ms Suzanne Bosibori, sits on Chief Justice Willy Mutunga's chair when she viisted his office. The Judicial Service Commission announced on May 10, 2016 that Kenya's new Chief Justice will be in office by October this year. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PETER LEFTIE
By PETER LEFTIE
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Kenyans will have a new Chief Justice by October this year.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) announced on Tuesday that it will require about four months to complete the process to replace Dr Willy Mutunga, whose last working day is June 16 this year.

“JSC anticipates that the recruitment shall take about four months given the statutory timelines guiding the process and expects the new Chief Justice to be in office in October, 2016,”  Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said in a statement.

The position will be open to serving and non-serving members of the Judiciary be they judges, magistrates, lawyers or persons drawn from the academia or corporate fields.

Ms Amadi said the recruitment process would only begin once the office of the CJ is declared vacant through a gazette notice.

The announcement puts to rest fears that the hiring process would be slowed by infighting within the JSC.

However, there is a pending case at the Court of Appeal filed by two Supreme Court judges Kalpana Rawal and Philip Tunoi, who are challenging a High Court ruling that they retire at 70.

The ruling, expected on May 27, could have implications on the eligibility of persons applying for the position of CJ.

Another ruling which may impact on the process relates to a case filed by the JSC and the Law Society challenging an amendment to the JSC Act giving the President powers to pick the CJ from a list of three persons forwarded to him by the selection panel.