Intense lobbying is in top gear among 10 individuals shortlisted by the Judicial Service Commission for the position of Chief Justice to replace David Maraga who retired in January.
The 10 candidates shortlisted include president of the Court of Appeal William Ouko, Court of Appeal judge Martha Koome, High Court judge Said Chitembwe and Employment and Labour Relations judges Mathews Nderi and Njagi Marete.
Others are Philip Murgor, Fred Ngatia and Patricia Mbote, Wekesa Moni and Alice Yano. Those who were dropped are Mare Otinga, Otondi Ontweka and Brian Ombongi Matagaro.
According to highly placed sources, Ouko is banking on ODM leader Raila Odinga who is his relative to land the position. Further, it is emerging Attorney General Kihara Kariuki is pushing for Ouko.
Judge Koome is being pushed by powerful individuals surrounding Uhuru Kenyatta referred to corridors of power as occupiers of State House B. Key influencer in State House B camp is political operative Nancy Gitau.
For Justice Chitembwe, he has the backing of Law Society of Kenya representative to JSC Macharia Njeru. By last week, those opposed to Chitembwe were compiling a petition to JSC relating to National Social Security Fund fraud cases in which his name featured prominently.
Further is the case of child defilement. Chitembwe is said to have released a defiler under controversial circumstances saying the minor had consented, a move that raised local and internationally outcry among child rights defenders.
The spirit of the girl seems to be haunting the judge as he faces JSC.
It is on the above grounds Njeru’s support for Chitembwe is being seen as morally unrooted within the legal fraternity.
For the post of Supreme Court judge to replace Justice Ojwang, those who applied to join the apex court include Justice Ouko and Koome, Kathurima M’Inoti, High Court judges Joseph Sergon and Chitembwe, Lumumba Nyaberi, Yano and Justices Marete and Nderi.