Presidential election petition 2017: The judges to make the Supreme Court bench

The Supreme Court of Kenya where the Presidential election petition 2017 will be heard
  • The opposition questions why IEBC announced President Kenyatta the winner without having verified all form 34As
  • Jubilee politicians insist that Uhuru won the election fairly and that he will win the court case
  • Chief Justice David Maraga has assured Kenyans that the Judiciary is ready to handle the presidential election petition and that it had learnt from mistakes it made four years ago

 

The Supreme Court is in the next few hours going to be a battle ground for IEBC, Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) after Opposition leader Raila Odinga finally took his presidential election petition to the highest court in the land.

The presidential petition tests the qualities of the Judicial Service Commission  It is these qualities, including incorruptibility, independence, professionalism and dedication to reform and restoration of confidence in the judiciary that will be on trial.

Here are the Supreme Court judges that will make the bench to hear the petition filled by NASA:

Chief Justice David Maraga
  1. Chief Justice David Maraga

The 66-year-old jurist is a strict, Seventh - day Adventist who has said he will not work on Saturday, even for a presidential petition, which has finally come his way.

Prior to his appointment as CJ, Justice Maraga was the Presiding Judge of the Court Of Appeal at Kisumu and the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee on Elections.

CJ Maraga holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of Nairobi; a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the same University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law. He was admitted onto the Roll of Advocates in October 1978.

Deputy Chief Justice Lady Philomena Mbete Mwilu
  1. Deputy Chief Justice Lady Philomena Mbete Mwilu

Lady Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu was appointed Deputy Chief Justice on October 28, 2016.

Justice Mwilu graduated from the University of Nairobi and was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya in 1984, deputises the Chief Justice and is the vice-president of the Supreme Court.

In December 2012 Lady Justice Mwilu was elevated to the Court of Appeal where she served as a Judge of Appeal until her appointment as the Deputy Chief Justice.

Justice Mohamed Khadar Ibrahim
  1. Hon Justice Mohamed Khadar Ibrahim

Justice Mohamed Ibrahim acted as CJ following Justice Mutunga's retirement last year until Justice Maraga was picked for the job.

He attended the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law Degree.

He was actively involved in civil rights advocacy at the advent of the pro-democracy movement in Kenya and was detained without trial in 1990.

As a judge he has always avoided controversy and is seldom seen in public.

Justice Prof Jackton Boma Ojwang
  1. Justice Prof Jackton Boma Ojwang

Justice Prof Jackton Boma Ojwang, a scholar and long-time lecturer at the University of Nairobi joined the Supreme Court at its inauguration in 2011. He was of the six judges who dismissed the presidential election petition of March 30, 2013.

He served as a Lecturer at the University Of Nairobi School Of Law from 1976 to 1983, becoming a full Professor of Law  from 1987 to 1990 and later an Associate Professor at the University Of Nairobi School Of Law.

In September 2015, Ojwang received a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi, having successfully defended his thesis, titled The Unity of the Constitution and the Common Law.

During his unsuccessful interview foe the post of CJ, the judge was asked if his wife, who is currently a Principal Secretary was given the job as an incentive for him sitting on Presidential election petition. He denied the allegations.

Although he denied being partisan to the executive, this petition presents another test to his role.

Justice Dr Smokin Wanjala

5. Justice Dr Smokin Wanjala

In June 2012, Justice Dr. Smokin Charles Wanjala was among five Justices nominated to the Supreme Court of Kenya by the Judicial Service Commission (Kenya).

He was once chairman of JSC Human Resource Management committee that oversees the establishment of appropriate human resources policies and strategies while on the JSC.

Justice Wanjala, who in 2000 graduated with a Doctorate in Law (PhD) from the University of Ghent, Belgium, was a Law Lecturer at the University of Nairobi for 20 years (1986-2004).

Justice Wanjala was actively involved in the struggle for Constitutional Reform in Kenya especially during his time in Civil Society in the 1990's. He was one of the four founder members of the Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) where they pioneered Civic Education in the Country.

Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndung'u

6. Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndung'u

Lady Justice Njoki Susanna Ndungu was appointed to the inaugural Supreme Court on June 11, 2011.

Justice Ndungu was nominated to the 9th Parliament by the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition – NARC to serve as a nominated Member of Parliament between 2003-2007.

She sat on the court during the Supreme Court 2013 presidential petition.

Justice Isaac Lenaola

7. Justice Isaac Lenaola

The 49-year-old Justice Isaac Leneola beat a pool of senior judges from the Court of Appeal who had applied for the position to replace retired judge Philip Tunoi.

He successfully joined the Supreme Court in late 2016 after a lengthy interview to fill the vacant positions left by Justice Philip Tunoi and Justice Kalpana Rawal who had attained the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 years.

Until his appointment, Justice Lenaola, the youngest of the Supreme Court judges, was the head of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division at the High Court.

Lenaola's appointment dashed the hopes of several women's organisations that petitioned the commission to appoint a woman to conform to the two-thirds gender rule at the Supreme Court.


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