LSK president Allen Gichuhi yesterday was dealt a blow in bid to lock out lawyer Tom Ojienda from the Judicial Service Commission.
The Law Society of Kenya council decided to retain all the five candidates cleared for election of male representative to the JSC.
But Gichuhi denied fighting Ojienda, saying the matter before the council was about the rule of law. “It’s nothing to do with me having Ojienda locked out. The rule has to be followed, just as simple as that,” he said.
Others on the list are Alex Gatundu, former Ipoa chairman Macharia Njeru, former Kiambu speaker Gathii Irungu and Charles Ongoto. “The council has refused to review. The decision made by the election committee on February 11 stands,” the council member told the Star.
Gichuhi called the meeting to review the list on grounds that lawyers Ojienda and Gathii’s nominations were approved without consideration of the council’s recommendations.
A Court of Appeal ruling on February 6 stayed the decision made by the High Court on December 4 last year, compelling the LSK to approve the nominees.
A faction of the LSK members said Ojienda’s woes followed political interests in the JSC, a key agency charged with the recruitment of Supreme Court judges.
Lawyers Brian Odongo and Mwaura Kabata said the plan to block the lawyer from the JSC is by people who want to “have state-friendly appointees” at the commission ahead of the 2022 General Election.
The lawyers said the tax compliance grounds cited by Gichuhi do not hold water in the election of nominees to the 12-member commission. “Government has three clear slots in the JSC, excluding the Attorney General. They would want an influence in the election of the other eight commissioners, hence the bid to remove Ojienda,” Kabata said.
Odongo said “the tax issue is unknown. Furthermore, Justices Fridah Okwany and George Odunga had settled the matter pitting Ojienda against KRA.”
They said the clamour to review the decision was suspect. They waved placards inscribed ‘Allen Must Go’, ‘Reclaim Captured LSK’, ‘Deep State Puppet’, alluding that the state had a hand in Ojienda woes.