Kenya: Uhuru Appoints Kitui Lawyer Morris Kimuli to IEBC Selection Panel

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Kitui-based lawyer Morris Kimuli to the seven-member selection panel of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

In an intriguing move that may stoke further divisions within the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the President revoked the earlier appointment of Dorothy Jemator, who is backed by LSK CEO Mercy Wambua, and appointed Mr Kimuli who was proposed by LSK President Nelson Havi.

Mr Kimuli was immediately sworn-in at the Supreme Court on Friday morning.

According to the Kenya Gazette notice dated May 27, President Kenyatta revoked the appointment of Ms Jemator and appointed Mr Kimuli to join the IEBC selection panel which has already started its work.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Paragraph 1 (1) of the First Schedule to the IEBC Act 2011, I, President Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander of the Kenya Defense Forces, appoint Morris Kimuli to be a member of the selection panel for the selection of nominees to the IEBC. The appointment of Kimengech Dorothy Jemator is revoked,” read the notice.

Read: Lawyers sue Havi, LSK council in fight against SGM resolutions

Also read: Disputes grind services at LSK to a halt

Kimuli’s promises

Reacting to his appointment, Mr Kimuli said he was aware that the process leading to his appointment had elicited mixed reactions from sections of the LSK but promised to serve with diligence, integrity and firmness.

“As I take up this office, I have neither friend nor foe. I am greatly humbled by the distinct honour to represent my colleagues in this critical national assignment, and I hope and pray that our collective work as a panel will honour God and perpetuate the positive aspirations of our people” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Last year, Mr Kimuli was among three lawyers who were assaulted and forcefully ejected from the Kitui County Assembly grounds as they represented Governor Charity Ngilu in impeachment proceedings.

The lawyers, who had gone to respond to summons requiring Governor Ngilu to appear before the assembly, were roughed up and thrown out by orderlies, as they walked towards the office of Speaker George Ndotto.

The appointment changes come weeks after the panel started its work and published the names of 699 applicants for the jobs.

It is understood that the shortlisting process is ongoing and that the names will be released as early as Monday.

Read: LSK council suspends Nelson Havi over failed leadership

Also read: Intrigue at LSK as chief executive is shown the door

LSK wrangles

President Kenyatta on April 26 appointed Ms Jemator alongside five others to sit on the selection panel to fill the positions of four commissioners at the agency.

The others were Dr Elizabeth Muli, Gideon Solonka, Elizabeth Meyo, Rev. Joseph Ngumbi and Dr Faradim Abdalla.

Ms Jemator’s appointment was vehemently opposed by a team led by Mr Havi, exposing the deeply-rooted infighting at the LSK.

Mr Havi had forwarded Mr Kimuli’s’s name to the President for the appointment but the rival faction rejected the move, accusing him of acting unilaterally and disregarding the society’s regulations that require a competitive process.

However, the LSK president insisted that Mr Kimuli will represent LSK in the IEBC panel.

“She holds two State appointments. The government cannot impose a representative upon the society,” Mr Havi said.

The two State agencies are the HIV and the Energy and Petroleum tribunals.

“Ms Dorothy Jemator should continue serving the Jubilee and ODM parties and the Government of Kenya in the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal; the HIV Aids Tribunal; and the BBI Steering Committee. A state officer cannot serve as an appointee of the LSK in the selection panel,” he added.

But the society’s CEO Mercy Wambua maintained that the council did the right thing by following the regulations in selecting Ms Jemator.

Ms Wambua claimed Mr Havi was out to muddy the waters for the society to miss out on the panel “because he is sure the contestation may end up in court”.

Hundreds of applicants

The parallel nominations epitomised the infighting and persistent wrangles that have rocked the once-powerful and influential lawyers’ lobby in the recent past.

Last year, the council suspended Mr Havi but he has dismissed the suspension as the work of a few renegades.

Mr Kimuli now joins the selection panel a month after it was constituted.

Already, the team chaired by Mr Muli has published the names of 669 applicants who have expressed interest in the positions.

They include politicians, former MPs, human rights defenders, former and serving members of constitutional commissions and university lecturers.

Some of the big names in the list are former Gem MP Joe Donde, former Nyamira Senator Kennedy Mong’are, former NCIC commissioners Gitile Naituli and Milly Lwanga and NGO veteran Justus Nyang’awa

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Author : Nation

Publish date : 2021-05-28 13:16:25

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