Details Of Ruto Plot To Make Chebukati Chief Justice- Raila Odinga

Once Chebukati is appointed, he would ascend to the position of Chief Justice before the 2027 general elections.

Details Of Ruto Plot To Make Chebukati Chief Justice- Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga speaking to the press flanked by top Azimio leaders at SKM Centre on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga has now claimed that President William Ruto wants former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati to succeed Martha Koome as the Chief Justice (CJ) of Kenya.

Addressing the media on Friday, February 2, Raila claimed that details regarding his meeting with CJ Koome at State House, Nairobi held on Monday, January 22 were not entirely made public.

The former Prime Minister sensationally claimed that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) offered Ruto slots in the gazetted Court of Appeal vacancies, two of which would be used by Ruto to appoint Chebukati and his predecessor at IEBC, Issack Hassan, as Court of Appeal judges.

Once Chebukati is appointed, he would ascend to the position of Chief Justice before the 2027 general elections.

IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati issuing William Ruto his certificate after winning the election. /WILLIAM RUTO

"At the meeting, the Chief Justice and Mr Ruto reached an agreement that will allow Mr Ruto to make additional funding to the Judiciary, in return, Justice Koome was to advertise vacancies for five additional judges and 11 Court of Appeal judges.

"This is in addition to the 20 high court judges advertised last year. As a matter of fact, the advertisement of the 11 judges has been gazetted today. In that agreement, the five high court judges and two Court of Appeal judges will be for Mr Ruto to forward to the JSC, and he floated the names, of immediate former IEBC chairpersons Mr Wafula Chebukati and Ahmed Issack Hassan to be appointed Court of Appeal judges with Chebukati later being elevated as the Chief Justice before the 2027 general elections," Raila claimed.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader further dismissed Ruto's alleged promise to fund the Judiciary, terming it a cover-up.

“Officially, Mr Ruto is supposed to have agreed to give additional funding to the judiciary, that is a cover-up. Judiciary does not draw any funds from the Executive or State House. Article 173 of the Constitution of Kenya established the judiciary fund which is administered by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary,” the ODM leader stated. 

During the meeting, the Executive alongside President Ruto and the Legislature agreed to support the Judiciary's request for additional budgetary support to achieve among others the following:

  1. To facilitate the recruitment of an additional 25 Judges of the High Court.
  2. To facilitate the recruitment of 11 new Judges of the Court of Appeal.
  3. Resources will also be provided to conclude the vehicle leasing program to facilitate the judiciary's transport needs.

Raila's claims came moments after CJ Koome in a gazette notice announced 11 vacancies for the Court of Appeal judges.

According to the gazette notice, the judges are to serve up to the age of 70 years with the option for early retirement after attaining 65 years per Article 167(1) of the Constitution. 

Those appointed will receive a minimum wage of Ksh775,845, excluding benefits and a maximum of Ksh1.18 million.

"Pursuant to section 30 of the Judicial Service Act and section 3 Part II of the First Schedule, of the Judicial Service Act (No. 1 of 2011), I, Martha K. Koome, Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya, for and on behalf of the Judiciary of Kenya, declare vacancies in the Office of Judge of the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Kenya," read part of the gazette notice.

Among the statutory requirements for the application include a law degree from a recognised university and at least ten 10 years experience as a superior court judge or an alternative of at least ten 10 years experience as a distinguished academic, or legal practitioner.

President William Ruto with CJ Martha Koome, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula and other leaders at State House, Nairobi on January 22, 2024. /PCS

Additionally, applicants must also demonstrate a high degree of professional competence, communication skills, fairness, good temperament and good judgment.

"Have a high moral character, integrity and impartiality (meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity)," read the gazette notice in part.