Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia has come out to lament that he was rigged out of the prestigious Chief Justice post. SC Ngatia made the remarks after the Judicial Service Commission announced that it had nominated Court of Appeal judge Justice Martha Koome.
“Four commissioners from Mt Kenya region reduced my scores yesterday afternoon after they were called by powerful people. Without that intervention, I was far ahead of all the other candidates,” Ngatia said.
The claim came out as ironical since Ngatia was considered a top contender on the basis of his strong qualifications, years of legal practice, the performance at his interview, and his links to the presidency.
Biography and career profile of Lady Justice Martha Koome
Senior Counsel Fred Ngatia was the top lawyer of President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 2013 and 2017 presidential election petitions. The claims was further exacerbated by the Law Society of Kenya Nelson Havi. During an interview at Citizen Tv, Mr. Havi wondered why the LSK representative to the JSC Macharia Munene could have awarded his senior in law, Ngatia 42 marks.
“As LSK, we are concerned that our representative could award 42 marks to a distinguished legal practitioner who had applied for CJ. If the guy is the top lawyer, how could he be the bottom candidate for CJ?” he said.
In 2019, Ngatia was ranked the best lawyer in Kenya by Chambers and Partners, an independent research company operating across 200 jurisdictions giving insight into the world’s leading lawyers.
Anlaysts have also claimed that the JSC’s unanimous decision was suspect, with claims that despite Justice Koome’s outstanding qualifications, her appointment was part of a larger ball game by the executive.