You Don't Have Powers- Mudavadi Tells Off Raila Over Making Chebukati Chief Justice
Mudavadi claimed that the opposition was going beyond its values to criticise President Ruto's government at the slightest opportunity
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi on Sunday, February 4 dismissed claims by Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga that President William Ruto was turning to former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati to succeed Martha Koome as the Chief Justice (CJ) of Kenya.
Speaking during an interdenominational church service at the Approved School Grounds in Kakamega County, Mudavadi claimed that the opposition was going beyond its values to criticise President Ruto's government at the slightest opportunity, including his meeting with members of the Judiciary.
He affirmed that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) was an independent body in the Judiciary and, as such, could recruit anyone who meets the necessary qualifications to serve as a judge, which varies depending on the roles of the Chief Justice.
Prime Cabinet Secretary, Musalia Mudavadi speaking during an interdenominational church service at Approved School Grounds, Kakamega County on February 4, 2024. /PCS
"Judicial Service Commission is independent and it has the right to recruit anybody who qualifies to be a judge of this republic. So it is wrong for the Azimio leadership to start determining who should the JSC recruit," he fired at the former Prime Minister.
Mudavadi further accused Raila of dictating who should succeed Koome as Chief Justice, however indicating that the window of opportunity was open for Chebukati to bid to serve in the Judiciary as long as he meets the requirements and goes through a competitive hiring process supervised by JSC.
"You cannot tell us that a son of the soil in this area if they are interested, if it is Chebukati or whoever.
"If he puts his bid for the position of a judge, that is the responsibility of the JSC, not the responsibility of politicians to try and direct the JSC. These kinds of contradictions are not acceptable," Mudavadi added.
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.
"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.
Chebukati was yet to officially respond to Raila's claims, coming 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.