Former IEBC Chair Chebukati left out as Issack Hassan shortlisted for Court of Appeal Judge position

Ahmed Hassan Issack, the former Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), found himself among the 41 applicants who made the cut for the Court of Appeal Judge position. The announcement came from Chief Justice Martha Koome, who also chairs the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Conspicuously absent from the list was the name of Wafula Chebukati, another former IEBC chairperson, despite his application among the 82 received for the position. The JSC, after careful review, shortlisted 41 candidates who met the requirements as outlined in the advertisement.

In a notice, the JSC informed the public of the forthcoming interviews for the Court of Appeal Judge positions, scheduled from June 3rd to 20th, 2024. Chief Justice Koome also extended an invitation for public comments on the conduct and suitability of the shortlisted candidates by May 13, 2024.

Members of the public were encouraged to provide written information regarding any of the shortlisted candidates. The Commission reserved the right to interview any individual who submitted pertinent information, with a guarantee of confidentiality.

All interviews will take place at the Central Bank of Kenya’s Pension Towers on Harambee Avenue in Nairobi. The process follows the JSC’s call for applications on February 9, 2024, for eleven vacancies in the Court of Appeal. The application window closed on February 29, 2024, with 82 submissions to process.

With the shortlisting complete, the 41 applicants are now vying for the 11 available positions at the Court of Appeal. Notable candidates include Issack Hassan, Justice Chacha Mwita, Athony Murima, Grace Nzioka, James Wakiaga, and Dalmas Omondi.

Meanwhile, Chebukati’s application stirred political controversy, with leaders from the Azimio coalition, led by Raila Odinga, alleging plans by President William Ruto to appoint him Chief Justice before the 2027 general elections. Raila suggested Ruto’s administration aimed to influence the judiciary in preparation for the upcoming elections.

In defense of Chebukati, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Affairs CS Musalia Mudavadi emphasized his right as a Kenyan to vie for the position of Chief Justice, asserting the independence of the Judicial Service Commission in its recruitment process. Mudavadi rebuked attempts by Azimio leaders to dictate the Commission’s decisions.