There were some intense moments during senior counsel Philip Murgor’s interview with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Murgor is seeking to be the next president of the Supreme Court.
As he was being interviewed by Acting CJ Philomena Mwilu, Murgor at some point told the former that he would answer her questions as he found fit.
“Madam, I will answer your question in the way I see fit,” he told DCJ Mwilu.
Murgor again accused the DCJ of not understanding her own questions.
He said, “I do not get the question. Not even sure that you are with the question yourself.”
To this, DCJ Mwilu responded, ” I am with the question because I am the one who structured the question.”
Asked whether there has been a vacuum in the Supreme Court following David Maraga’s retirement in January, Murgor said having an acting CJ was not the same as having the actual CJ.
“I am not saying that the acting CJ is not doing her best, I am simply saying it’s not the same as having a CJ. Anyone in an acting position is acting for a temporary time.
“It is not an opinion but a fact that there’s no substantive Chief Justice in office. The limitations are found in the word Acting – run an institution and your term is based on a substantive holder in the holder. Everybody views you through a certain lens, as being temporary,” he told the interview panel led by Prof Olive Mugenda.
DCJ Mwilu on her part noted that there hasn’t been a vacuum in the judiciary for the past four months.
Murgor had sought to have Mwilu disqualify herself from the interview panel citing conflict of interest.
This he said as he responded to a letter to the JSC on LSK President Nelson Havi’s memorandum on his inability to hold the CJ position.
According to Murgor, the acting CJ and Havi have a client- advocate relationship.
“At this stage, it bears pointing out that Havi represents DCJ Mwilu in several cases pending before the courts and in complaints pending before the JSC,” says Murgor.
On why Mwilu should disqualify herself from the JSC panel, Murgor said it was the only way to preserve the integrity of the process.
“Indeed, should Havi’s preferred candidate secure the positions, the public perception will be that he and his client Mwilu had all along been working in collusion to achieve a pre-determined outcome of discrediting some candidates to illegally ensure the success of others,” he said.