News / Africa

Kenyan President, PM, to Rethink Judicial Appointees

Kenya’s Parliamentary Speaker Kenneth Marende (file)
Kenya’s Parliamentary Speaker Kenneth Marende (file)
Michael Onyiego

Kenya’s Parliamentary Speaker Kenneth Marende has rejected controversial judicial appointments made by the President last month. As key deadlines for judicial reform approach, the process is back in the hands of Kenya’s divided leaders.

The appointments of major positions within Kenya’s Judiciary are back in the hands of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after nearly three weeks of controversy and confusion which gripped the country’s government. Late Thursday, Parliamentary Speaker Kenneth Marende ruled to a noisy chamber that Mr. Kibaki had violated the National Accord and Reconciliation Act when he failed to consult the Prime Minister on the nominations.

“The constitutional requirements are not met if the national assembly receives a list of nominees to constitutional offices on which there is open and expressed disagreement between his Excellency the President and the Prime Minister," said Merende.

In January, President Mwai Kibaki appointed Judge Alashir Vishram and lawyer Githu Muigai for the positions of Chief Justice and Attorney General of Kenya. The appointments were made while Prime Minister Odinga was in Ethiopia attending a Summit of the African Union. Mr. Odinga immediately declared the act invalid, telling media he had asked Mr. Kibaki to wait until his return for discussions regarding the posts.   Mr. Kibaki also named a director of public prosecution and a budget controller.

In his ruling, Marende called on both principals to reach a consensus on the nominations before resubmitting the names to parliament for final approval.

Members of the President’s Party of National Unity expressed universal shock and anger at the rulings. Shortly after Thursday’s session, visibly disgusted Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta disputed the ruling.

“Are we now saying the country will not move forward until Raila says so?" asked Kenyatta.
"The decision is likely to increase tensions in Kenya’s already strained coalition government. But perhaps lost amid the previous three weeks of frenzied debate was a High Court ruling which separately found the nominations invalid."

On February 4, Justice Daniel Musinga found the nominations process had violated constitutional requirements of equal opportunity by failing consider women candidates. The ruling, which was seemingly ignored by Kenya’s lawmakers, appeared to play a role in the Speaker’s decision.

“It is unconstitutional and the unconstitutionality cannot be cured by any act of this house or its committees, nor a vote on a motion of this house," said Merende.

Kenya now faces a race against the clock as the judicial reform process heads back to square one. The new constitution requires current Chief Justice Evan Gicheru to vacate office by February 27.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs