‘It means nothing to me if I don’t get the job!’ Philip Murgor tells CJ interview panel
Published on: April 16, 2021 04:31 (EAT)
Senior Counsel Philip Murgor on Friday told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that he would be honored to serve as Kenya’s next Chief Justice, but that it would not be a tragedy to him if he didn’t get the job either. Murgor made his statements before the panel when he interviewed to replace retired CJ David Maraga; slightly over 5 hours of what many have described as more of a confrontation than a vetting process. SC Murgor, in a response to one of the commissioners, said if presented with the opportunity to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta, he would tell him to support the Judiciary and make it a credible system. “Everybody wants a progressive country, everybody wants a wonderful country…If I were ever, and I hope I will sit with President Kenyatta, I would say to him (that) for the security of everything you have done…for example, infrastructure…for it all to work, you need a credible justice system. Otherwise, in a country that has anarchy, nothing works,” he said. “The 95% even of his budget is useless for the purposes of the Executive…so I don’t have to get this job….I don’t want to sound arrogant…it’s a privilege to serve, it’s an honour to serve, I feel that you can use my services…but it means nothing to me if I don’t get it.”
Philip Murgor: “In a country that has anarchy, nothing works. 95% of his budget is useless, for the purposes of the executive. I do not have to get this job. It means nothing to me if I don’t get the job” pic.twitter.com/rG6ceF8o04 — Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 16, 2021Murgor also notably clashed with the country’s current Acting CJ Philomena Mwilu during the opening bit of the interview over issues such as vacuum in the office since the exit of David Maraga. According to Murgor, the office of Chief Justice, despite having a placeholder in an acting capacity, is still in all senses of the word empty. “I am not saying that the acting CJ is not doing her best, I am simply saying it’s not the same as having a CJ. Anyone in an acting position is acting for a temporary time,” he said. “It is not an opinion but a fact that there’s no substantive Chief Justice in office. The limitations are found in the word acting; run an institution and your term is based on a substantive holder in the holder. Everybody views you through a certain lens, as being temporary.” The lawyer also narrated to the panel how he was in 1982 arrested over suspicions of participating in the infamous coup attempt, adding how that shaped his life for an interest in justice in the future. Murgor further took a jab at fellow controversial lawyer Nelson Havi accusing him (Havi) of attempting to subject him (Murgor) to public ridicule. “Nelson Havi has no understanding on what happened at the time. He was creating a memorandum to embarrass me. If he was sincere, all he had to do was to find out what happened to the case of the late Justice Aganyanya,” he noted.
Philip Murgor: “Nelson Havi has no understanding on what happened at the time. He was creating a memorandum to embarrass me. If he was sincere, all he had to do was to find out what happened to the case of the late Justice Aganyanya” pic.twitter.com/PEs9neYIkq — Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) April 16, 2021