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I am not qualified for CJ job, candidate Udoto tells panel

Law student Paul Andrew Kongani Udoto Kongani on Monday pulled out of the race for the Chief Justice after telling the Judicial Service Commission that he was not qualified.

Mr Kongani, however, said the qualifications were discriminatory to young people like him who are under 40.

Judicial Service Commission chairman Margaret Kobia had started the session by telling Mr Kongani that he was unqualified for the post, before ruling that the commissioners would still proceed to ask him questions anyway.

Commissioner Aggrey Muchelule was the first to quiz Mr Kongani.

“Are you telling us that you are qualified according to the provisions of the Constitution for the post of Chief Justice of Kenya? If yes, I will then proceed to ask these questions,” asked Justice Muchelule.

15-YEAR EXPERIENCE

Mr Kongani asked to explain himself and why he applied for the post despite not having the required qualifications, among them that a candidate must have served as a judge or as a senior lawyer or law academic for at least 15 years.

Mr Kongani is a student at the Kenya School of Law and his application for the job had been denied before a High Court ordered that he be interviewed alongside eight others who had not been shortlisted.

“You know if you are going to be the Chief Justice, you will be the head of the Supreme Court and the head of other judges? Are you qualified?” asked Justice Muchelule.

After Mr Kongani appeared to agree with the commission that he was not qualified, Prof Kobia ruled that there should be no further questions.

“I wish you well and who knows? You might find a job in the Judiciary soon,” said Prof Kobia.