TERMITES, hedgehogs and snakes were the subjects of discussion at the KICC yesterday as new judges recounted the sad state of affairs of their new work-stations. During the launch of a five -year judiciary transformation framework presided over by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, tales were told of how courts had been left to rot over the years to the extent of hosting snakes in their archives.
Chief Registrar of Judiciary Gladys Boss Shollei said no justice can be expected from the kind of neglect, mismanagement and rot her new team has unearthed. "In Machakos, files were eaten by termites, hedgehogs and snakes made the repository their home. This is not a tale, this is true," Shollei told the guests.
She said the building housing the law courts in Makueni and Othaya are condemned, Karatina Law Court looks like a granary and that Runyenjes Magistrates Courts look like a toilet. "In Runyenjes, the magistrate sits at an arms length of the people on the dock, sometimes very dangerous people. In Mukurwe-ini law courts, the toilets have no doors but the must use them," Shollei who displayed photos to the guests said.
She said the cells in Baricho Law Courts have no roof while those of Bomet look like a neglected pen house: "It makes Vision 2030 look like a pipe dream," she said. Prof. Joel Ngugi, who until recently taught in the US is now a judge in Machakos. Yesterday he testified to the restoration of Machakos Law Courts whose archives were infested with snakes, termites and hedgehogs.
He said at their own initiative, judicial staff in Machakos sat and made 43 resolutions dubbed the "Maanzoni Declaration" and which they have been working on to improve their station. "One of the resolutions- and the CJ and the registrar had better be listening- is that we will refuse to be mismanaged by Nairobi. We are ready to pay back Kenyans for their investment and no one will stop us," the judge said.
Sholei said she will be championing for dedication of at least 2.5 per cent of the national budget to go to judiciary. She said there is very little that can be done by the new judiciary if it is not given the necessary capacity.