President Uhuru Kenyatta has gotten a reprieve after the Court of appeal has temporarily halted the execution of High court order requiring him to appoint the six judges within 14 days.
Appellate judges Imaana Laibuta, Lady Justice Wanjiru Karanja, Lady Justice and Roselyn Nambuye granted a temporary order to maintain the status quo in the appointment of the judges following an appeal by the president.
This means that the six judges will not be sworn in within the 14 days as earlier directed by a 3-judge bench of the High Court.
The six judges include Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga, Weldon Korir and Joel Ngugi, who were to serve in the Appellate court.
Chief Magistrate Evans Makori and High Court registrar Judith Omange were also omitted from the list of judges gazetted
The Court of Appeal judges, however, added that they will deliver a detailed ruling on November 19.
“We are going to craft an interim ruling which will be on the said date”, stated the appellate judges.
The orders were issued after Attorney General Kihara Kariuki through Emmanuel Bittal filed an appeal challenging the High Court orders to compel the president to exercise his constitution mandates.
During the court session, Katiba Institute which is a respondent in the appeal had opposed having Justice Laibuta recuse himself because he is one of the 34 judges appointed, which request was declined.
The president through Waweru Gatonye argued that the court has no power to give the powers to another person to appoint the judges.
“The orders by the High Court amount to amending the constitution which the court has no powers to do that,” Gathonye said.
The lawyer urged the court to issue conservatory orders since the appeal will be rendered nugatory unless stay orders are issued.
“This is a matter of great interest and concerns the institution and how the people of Kenya are governed. It’s only fair that the status quo be preserved,” Gatonye said.
Dudley Ochiel for Katiba Institute opposed the request to have a stay order issued saying the judges did not err in granting the orders to Kabita to compel the president to exercise his constitutional mandate by appointing the six judges.
Last month, the High Court justices William Musyoka, James Wakiaga and George Dulu had also ordered Chief Justice Martha Koome in conjunction with the Judicial Service Commission to be at liberty to take all necessary steps to swear in the six judges if Uhuru fails to play his part.