Thirteen judges, some of whose rulings have disagreed with the executive, have been transferred by the judiciary. A letter detailing the 13 judges’ station transfers was signed by Justice Eric Ogola, the chief justice of the high court, and it states that the transfers are effective as of October 2nd this year.
Among those leaving their present positions is Lady Justice Mugure Thande, who has been transferred from the Mililani High Court’s Constitutional and Human Rights Division in Nairobi to the Malindi High Court.
Recent rulings by Justice Thande have been perceived as being against the government. The lawsuit opposing the enforcement of the Finance Act 2023 was initially filed in her court. She urged that a three-judge bench be set up to hear the issue and temporarily halted the government’s efforts to collect taxes by suspending the execution of the challenged Finance Act 2023.
Additionally, Justice Thande had suspended the cabinet’s decision to lift a ten-year prohibition on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) months earlier, halting the government’s plans to import and deal in genetically modified foods.
The transfers also included the transfers of Justices Aleem Visram and Hedwig Ong’udi, with Justice Visram transferring from the Civil Division of Mililani to the Commercial and Tax Division and Justice Ong’udi being sent to Nakuru as the Principal Judge. The two were a part of a three-judge panel that overturned the president’s efforts to reward his supporters with positions in government by ruling that the naming of 50 CASs was unconstitutional.
Justice David Majanja, who is presently heading a three-judge bench hearing on matters contesting the enactment of the Finance Act 2023, is going to sit at the Milimani high court’s civil division rather than the Commercial and Tax division where he is presently serving.
The transfers occur concurrently with the Judicial Service Commission’s appointment of around 70 resident magistrates. The hiring of 70 magistrates is expected to help speed up the hearing and determination of cases as well as reduce the backlog of cases.