The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Kenya is an independent Commission established under Article 171 of the Constitution of Kenya. Its mandate as stipulated in Article 172 of the Constitution is to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice. The commission has 11 members with the initial team appointed in December 2010.
The Key functions of the JSC are:
Under Article Article 171(1) of the Constitution of Kenya, the Judicial Service Commission consists of the following 11 members:
The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary serves as the Secretary to the JSC.
The current membership of the JSC is as follows:
Hon. Anne Amadi, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary serves as the Secretary to the Commission.
The first high profile actions carried out by the newly appointed JSC were public interviews for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice positions in May 2011. The Commission nominated lawyers Willy Munyoki Mutunga and Nancy Baraza for the positions of Kenya's Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively. The names were forwarded to President Mwai Kibaki, who then submitted them to Parliament after consultation with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga where they were approved.
The Judicial Service Commission, interviewed 25 applicants and in June 2011 nominated 5 Justices to the Supreme Court of Kenya.
Main article: Baraza-Kerubo Village Market incident
In January 2012, the Judicial Service Commission formed a sub-committee to investigate reports that Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza assaulted a security guard at the Village Market shopping mall on 31 December 2011. The JSC subsequently recommended her suspension to President Mwai Kibaki and requested the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct in line with Article 168 (4) of the Constitution. After her suspension, a commission formed to investigate her conduct recommended her removal from office. On 18 October, she subsequently resigned after withdrawing her supreme court appeal of the tribunal's verdict.
The vacant position of Deputy Chief Justice was advertised by the Commission (JSC) on 9 November 2012. The JSC however re-advertised because it was dissatisfied by the number of applicants. The position subsequently attracted applications from 17 women and one man. Those shortlisted for the position were:
The justices who failed to make the short-list were Roselyn Nambuye, Fatuma Sichale, Fatuma Sichale, Wanjiru Karanja, Grace Wangui Ngenye, Ruth Sitati, Helen Omondi, Hannah Okwengu and Mary Ang'awa. On 22 February 2013, the JSC announced that after completing the interviews it had nominated Court of Appeal Judge Kalpana Rawal. There will however be a longer wait for the next steps in the process as the current parliament completed its term and the next Parliament is to be elected during the March general Election. The new parliament will then form departmental committees including the one on Justice and Legal Affairs which will then vet her suitability for the office.
On 17 August 2013, the JSC, in a meeting in Mombasa (while Gladys Boss Shollei was away in a trip in Canada) resolved to commence investigations into complaints and allegations touching on financial management and governance issues in the Judiciary.
The Commission asked the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, to take 14 days' leave and appointed the Deputy Chief Registrar to act in her place.
Although the Chief Registrar filed a petition in the High Court seeking to restrain the Commission from taking any disciplinary action against her, she later elected to withdraw the case on 30 August 2013 without any conditions.
On 9 September 2013, the Judicial Service Commission served the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Mrs Gladys Boss Shollei, with 87 allegations touching on financial and human resource mismanagement, irregularities and illegalities in procurement, and misbehavior. The CRJ was given 21 days to respond, and a further 18 days for oral submissions on her request.
On 27 September 2013, the Standard Newspaper published a trove of email correspondence between Mr Mutunga and the four-person team he has created as his hand-picked personal staff.
According to the documents, the “war plan” was to be executed within 21 days starting from 22 September, climaxing on 1 October when Mr Mutunga will call a full JSC meeting, dubbed the “Day of the Transformational Blood-Bath”, as point number 16 of the plot, the CJ was to impress upon the JSC to have Mrs Shollei dismissed or suspended.
The Chief Justice never denied the emails instead claimed his email account had been hacked.
On 18 October 2013, JSC met in Supreme Court and resolved to remove the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary from office after failing to honour appearance to give an oral defence.