Lawyer Fred Ngatia has claimed that he was rigged out in the race to find the next chief justice in a selection process where scores by individual candidates were not made public.
Court of Appeal judge Martha Koome was on Tuesday nominated for the position of Chief Justice beating nine other candidates.
“Our duty was to select the best candidate and that’s what we have done,” Prof Olive Mugenda, who chaired the interviews, said on why the individual scores will not be made public.
The other candidates were Justice Said Juma Chitembwe, Prof Patricia Mbote, Justice Njagi Marete, Mr Philip Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Justice William Ouko, Prof Moni Wekesa and Ms Alice Yano.
Mr Ngatia, who had been tipped as one of the frontrunners, disputed Justice Koome’s nomination, saying that the JSC manipulated his scores according to reports from Business Daily.
“Four commissioners from Mt Kenya reduced my scores yesterday afternoon after they were called by powerful people,” Ngatia told Business Daily.
“Without that intervention, I was far ahead of all the other candidates,” he added without giving details on the scores and venue of the meeting.
Mr Ngatia represented President Uhuru Kenyatta in the presidential election petitions at the Supreme Court and his close links with the Head of State featured during his interview for the chief justice position.
Social media was also rife with allegations that Ngatia was a state sponsored candidate who was the most likely to be nominated. But it turned otherwise.
However, Ngatia has not revealed his next step of action regarding his claims of being rigged out.
During her interviewing, Justice Koome said she would be banking on, among others, her experience as a Judiciary insider to transform the courts.
The Court of Appeal Judge, who boasts of over 18 years’ experience in the Judiciary, indicated her priorities as reducing the backlog of cases by facilitating the appointment of additional judges and magistrates, operationalising the Judiciary Fund to promote its independence, promoting the use of technology as well as to building additional courts.
If her appointed in approved, Justice Koome will head the Judiciary for the next 10 years, marking the first time that holders of the two most powerful positions in the Judiciary are women. The current deputy and acting Chief Justice is Philomena Mwilu.