Taking on his official Twitter account, Prof Mutua attributed his move to the experience of the last two recent Chief Justices.
According to Prof Mutua, their experiences demonstrates that it is not possible to be both an independent and effective Chief Justice in Kenya.
He however wished the very best to all the applicants who are seeking to replace former Chief Justice Dr David Kenani Maraga who retired early last month (January).
“I’ve been asked why I didn’t apply for the position of Chief Justice. After much reflection, I concluded that as the experience of the last two recent CJs strongly demonstrates, it’s not possible to be BOTH an INDEPENDENT and EFFECTIVE CJ in Kenya. Godspeed to the applicants” wrote Prof Mutua.
Born in 1958, Prof Mutua is a Kenyan-American professor at the SUNY Buffalo School of Law and was its dean from 2008-2014.
He teaches international human rights, international business transactions, and international law.
He is vice president of the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Following the voluntary early retirement of Dr. Willy Mutunga in June 2016, Justice Maraga was among the ten people who applied to replace him.
Judge Maraga emerged victorious from a list of eminent judges, legal practitioners, and scholars, including law professor Makau Mutua, Supreme Court of Kenya Judges Jackton Ojwang and Smokin Wanjala, East Africa Court of Justice Judge Aaron Ringera, and his Court of Appeal colleague Alnashir Visram.
Justice Maraga retired on 12 January 2021 when he turned 70 in accordance with Article 167(1) and 167(2) of the Constitution of Kenya which provides that an individual shall retire from the Office of the Chief Justice after serving for 10 years or on reaching the age of 70, whichever comes first.
He handed the leadership of the judiciary to Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, deputy chief justice and vice president of the Supreme Court, who would serve as the Acting Chief Justice and president of the Supreme Court until a substantive chief justice is appointed.
Meanwhile, no Supreme Court Judge, including Acting Chief Justice and Deputy CJ, Philomena Mwilu, has applied for the position of Chief Justice.
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