Judicial vetting under the new constitution

Posted by on 26th October 2010

Categories:   2007 Elections Kenya Constitution Kenyaelection07

BY MZALENDO CONTRIBUTOR MOREEN MAJIWA (@moreenmaj)

The Kenyan Judiciary has for along time been plagued with accusations of corruption. Indeed these concerns were most visible during the 2007 presidential elections where both candidates expressly declared a lack of confidence in the judiciary to resolve the dispute fairly.

So what changes under the new constitution?

First, Section 23 of the sixth schedule of the new constitution requires that within the first year of the new constitutional dispensation Parliament create mechanisms for vetting judges
to determine their suitability to continue service. The vetting process is intended to create a judiciary that is strong and independent and able to decide disputes between people honestly and fairly as well as restore the public’ s faith in the judicial system of Kenya.

Second, on Thursday this week 21st of October, 2010 Parliament approved the first two nominees to the Judicial Service Commission, which will be responsible for the vetting – High Court Judge Justice Isaac Lenaola and Principal Magistrate Emily Ominde. In a historic moment for Kenya, the search for the vetting team is a public process.

The new constitution provides a broad roadmap for
a vetting process that can be vastly more different, fair, open and transparent than the one that took place in 2003/2004, conducted by a Judicial Service Commission that is independent and representative. It is up to parliament to implement enabling legislation that makes such a process possible.

The road to vetting the judiciary and creating the judicial structures envisioned in the new constitution has began on the right footing lets not repeat the mistakes made in the radical surgery of 2005.