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High court orders AG to act on KNHCR impasse

17 December 2013, 15:26 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - The High court may have to bypass Attorney General Githu Muigai and give its judgment on the fate of the interviews for the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights top brass.

Judge Isaac Lenaola said so Monday, while urging the AG to try and file a response to the suit challenging the interviewing process.

"It’s a national crisis, in view of urgency, this matter be heard on January 3, 2014, in the meantime the AG should file a response by that date and if there is none, a judgment should be given," Justice Lenaola said.

Justice Lenaola also said that because the petition remains unopposed since it was certified urgent on October 17, the interim order stopping the interviews from being held are extended.

In the suit questioning the shortlisting criteria which was termed as unfair, an earlier defied request to the AG to respond had been given by court.

The National Human Rights body was blocked from conducting interviews to fill the top vacancies with claims that it was tainted with illegalities.

Brian Weke and Japheth Muroko, the petitioners allege that three interviews had already been conducted by the selection team yet the outcome had not yielded politically-correct individuals desired by the executive.

They further allege that the interviews were an attempt to have them conducted for the fourth time which amounted to rejection of the list of nominees, whose role is exclusively reserved for the National Assembly.

"There are short-listed candidates who have been interviewed three times and need to know their fate. This is taxpayers’ money being used for these sittings, "their lawyer Anthony Oluoch had told court.

They claimed that the yardstick used to short-list candidates violated the law that set up the commission.

They also claimed an advertisement of short-listed candidates was carried out only two days before the scheduled interview day and that it came after a notice had already been issued.

It is their argument that it will be premature to re-advertise for fresh applications since the process had already been concluded and Parliament is waiting for the names of the successful candidates for formal appointment.

However the commission has denied the claims and maintained that the proper procedure was used in arranging for the interviews.

The two had sought orders to block AG from seeking new candidates.

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