Some of the members have raised concerns about the process used to nominate Lenaola to the regional court and want the exercise repeated.
Other members however see nothing wrong in the manner in which the appointment was made and are opposed to a repeat of the exercise.“How can we be talking of transparency and fairness when appointments continue to be made in a clandestine manner? The JSC should have been given the opportunity to advertise the position and pick the best person for the position,” said a member of the JSC who did not want to be named for fear it would worsen the friction within the commission.
Lenaola was nominated and sworn in as the judge of the East African court on Wednesday to replace Justice Benjamin Kubo who has retired.
The group supporting Lenaola’s appointment insists there is nothing wrong in the appointment.“This issue was raised on Monday during the JSC meeting which was chaired by Ahmednassir Abdullahi and it was agreed that it was outside the mandate of the commission. Ordinarily, the Chief Justice should have forwarded the names to the President but we don’t have a CJ now. The JSC referred the matter back to the Ministry of Justice which forwarded the name for appointment,” said another member of the JSC.
The East African Court of Justice is a treaty-based judicial body of the East African Community tasked to ensure adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the East African Treaty of 1999.
Justice Lenaola was until his appointment the resident judge in Kakamega. He has previously worked as a judge in Nairobi, Meru and Machakos.
Lenaola promptly turned down an offer to become Director of Public Prosecutions, according to a story published by the Nairobi Law Monthly.
The story which quoted unnamed sources said both the ODM and PNU wings of the coalition had agreed on Justice Lenaola’s appointment as DPP as they considered him a fresh face that would bring new impetus to the prosecution department.
Last year, the lobby for High Court judges and magistrates elected him as their representative to the powerful Judicial Service Commission.
Justice Lenaola, an alumni of the University of Nairobi and the Kenya School of Law, was appointed judge of the High court on October 28, 2003.