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JSC recommends appointment of 20 new High Court judges



The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has forwarded names of 20 nominees to President William Ruto for appointment as judges of the High Court.

Among those nominated are seven magistrates led by Milimani Anti-Corruption court chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi.

The other magistrates elevated to the judgeship include Gichohi Patricia Njeri, Kavedza Diana Rachael, Nyaga Heston Mbogo, Mulwa Peter Mutua, Macharia Florence Wangari and Odera Teresa Achieng.

President Ruto is expected to appoint the nominees within 14 days. The list has eight women and 12 men.

The High Court currently has 82 judges against a statutory establishment of 200 judges and the appointment of the new judges will push the number to 102.

“After length deliberations and careful consideration of the performance of the various candidates and based on the constitutional imperative of merit, gender, regional balance and affirmative action, the JSC has recommended the appointment of the under listed to the Office of Judge of the High Court and has submitted their names to the President for appointment,” said JSC chairperson Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The nominees are drawn from the Judiciary, legal practice and academia.

Others in the list include Mongare Josphine Wayua Wambua, Nyaundi Patricia Mande, Chirchir Sophie Chebet, Prof (Dr) Sifuna Nixon Wanyama, Shariff Mwanaisha Saida, Chigiti John Mugwimi and Mutai Gregory.

Also in the list is Wananda John Robert Anuro, Mohochi Samwel Mukira, Olel Francis Rayola Ochieng Odhiambo, Dr Gathiru Freda Mugambi, Magare Dennis Kizito Ng’wono and Visram Aleem Alnashir.

Notable figures interviewed for the positions but missed in the nomination include two top prosecutors – Dorcas Oduor (Secretary, Public Prosecutions and the Principal Deputy to the Director of Public Prosecutions) and Alexander Muteti (senior assistant DPP).

Ms Odour, who is also Head of Economic, International and Emerging Crimes at the Office of the DPP, had also in July been interviewed by JSC for the position of the Appeal court judge but she was not hired.

Also missed in the nomination include lawyers and scholars such lawyer Ng’ania Melissa together with magistrates Douglas Ogoti and Elizabeth Juma from the anti-corruption court and Wendy Kagendo and Francis Andayi from the criminal division.

Other magistrates who were eyeing elevation but missed include Derrick Kuto, who is the President of the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA).

A total of 104 people including magistrates, lawyers and academics were shortlisted to fill the 20 vacancies advertised on March 24, 2022. The 104 candidates were shortlisted from a pool of 266 applicants.

The looming appointment of the 20 judges has direct impact of the country’s public wage as it will rise by at least Sh240 million annually.

A High Court judge earns a maximum of Sh1, 000, 974 monthly plus other duty allowances and benefits such as official transport (a government car, driver and security detail).

Another benefit entitled to judges is an annual medical cover of Sh10 million (inpatient), Sh300, 000 (outpatient), Sh150, 000 (maternity), Sh75, 000 (Dental) and Sh75, 000 (optical).

They are also entitled car loan and mortgage, non-practicing allowance of Sh20, 000 and group life insurance that is for a value equivalent to three times of the annual basic remuneration package.

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