Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) Secretary General Bryan Khaemba (right) flanked by the association treasurer Derik Kuto addressing the media at Milimani law courts on Thursday where they said the association was against the vetting of Khadhis saying the directive by Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board was unconstitutional on Thursday 20 August,2015..
B SAM ALFAN.
Kenya Magistrates and judges association has accused the vetting board of breaching the law by inviting members of the Kadhis court to face the committee for clearance.
The association through its secretary general Byran Khaemba and treasurer Derrick Kuto said that vetting board was overstepping its mandate and violating the constitution.
He said that section 23 of the fifth schedule of the constitution limits the vetting process to judges and magistrates, saying that no amendments have done to include the Kadhis.
He said that currently the manner in which the board is constituted in incompetent to achieve the expected objectives of the vetting process.
The secretary general was reacting to advert carried in the local daily by the board inviting public to forward information regards to ongoing vetting it also listed 13 members of the kadhis.
According to the advert some of the factors to be considered during the vetting exercise include constitutional criteria for appointment as a magistrate, past work record of the magistrate, any pending or concluded criminal cases before a court of law against the magistrate and any recommendation for prosecution by the Attorney General or the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
Addressing the media at Milimani Law Courts KMJA’s Secretary General Bryan Khaemba said the association is perturbed by Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board’s continuous manifestation of poor appreciation and interpretation of the constitution despite a judgment by the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.
“If a judicial officer goes through unconstitutional process then the entire exercise is unlawful. The association hereby wishes to inform members of the public to ignore the said advertisement insofar as the 13 Kadhis are referred to,” Khaemba said.
Khaemba said according to the constitution Khadis are not part of Judges and Magistrates despite them being judicial officers adding that the board jurisdiction to vet the Khadis. He said Khadis are recommended for appointment by various Muslim groups and therefore they cannot undergo the vetting process
“This outright breach of clear and straight forward constitutional provisions demonstrates that the Board as it is currently constituted is incompetent to achieve the expected objectives of the vetting process,” Khaemba said.
Khaemba said the exercise that is set to commence in September by JMVB is unlawful and gave the board a seven day ultimatum to withdraw the advert. He said the KMJA shall remain vigilant
Khadhis mainly handle matrimonial and inheritance disputes under Islamic law.
“We are law abiding citizens and therefore its not a question of bad blood or otherwise but we want to follow the law and we expect the vetting board to follow the law” Kuto said.
The current constitution provides for the Chief Kadhi and Kadhi’s Courts and states their powers as being to decide on issues of Muslim personal law between Muslims on matters touching on marriage, divorce and inheritance.