Yesterday, controversial Law Society of Kenya president Nelson Havi, while dismissing Justice Martha Koome’s unanimous nomination, asserted that there’s no way all of the panelists in the Judicial Service Commission could have voted to nominate the Justice.
Although Martha Koome was one of the favourites to clinch the Chief Justice nomination, no one expected her to sail through unanimously. Considering the mix of the JSC panelists, it was expected that any nomination was going to result in a divided and subjective nomination process.
Most Kenyans, especially online, have appeared to embrace Havi’s concerns, casting doubt on whether Martha Koome really sailed through unopposed.
There are particularly two panelists on the Judicial Service Commission list who have had strong reasons to vote against Koome, and would have most likely opposed a unanimous vote.
The first one is acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.
The infamous ruling which Justice Martha Koome made that set aside Justice Odunga’s earlier ruling, and in essence allowed Uhuru a leeway in the IEBC setup is one of the sticky issues that Mwilu feels opinionated about, and has, so far, not hidden this fact.
During Koome’s appearance before the vetting body, Mwilu asked her why she felt it in order to reverse the earlier ruling by Odunga on the basis of the fact that the Judge had sat on a public holiday while making the ruling. Mwilu put it to her that it remained the prerogative of the Chief Justice to decide when a Judge could sit.
The second panelist, who would, in all likelihood, reject a unanimous vote is Felix Koskei, and in his case, it would have been purely political.
Felix who is a former cabinet minister sits on JSC as a representative of the public, and was expected to oppose Koome’s nomination on account of his closeness to DP Ruto.
Since his fallout with the president, the DP hasn’t been keen on giving his boss a smooth ride in his nominations and appointments.