21 August 2018

Kenya: Chief Justice Maraga Urges Judges to Bear With Tight Budget

Chief Justice (CJ) David Maraga has urged judges to bear with the meagre resources allocated to the Judiciary after its budget was reduced.

Speaking to judges for the first time since the institution's budget was reduced, he urged them to bear " the difficult times" they are operating in as they try to resolve the issue.

Justice Maraga said that he is convinced the authorities concerned will see the importance of funding the Judiciary to enable them move on.

The CJ, who was addressing the judges during their annual colloquium in Mombasa, called on them to bear with "the difficult times" as they try to resolve the issue.

He said he is convinced that the relevant authorities will see the importance of increasing funding for the Judiciary.

He revealed they have engaged with other agencies and he is optimistic that the issue will be resolved.

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ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

"We wonder whether some people realise the importance of the Judiciary. It plays a key role in security and economic prosperity of the nation," he said noted.

He said he has received complaints from judges who have not been given cars since they were appointed, and that some of them have old cars which keep breaking down.

"We came up with a budget of Sh31 billion, but you have seen what we were allocated at the end of the day; apart from recurrent expenditure and paying salaries, we are left with very little to use for operations," he said.

"The country should know the importance of the Judiciary and allocate us the resources we require," said Justice Maraga.

The CJ added that the Judiciary is a fundamental pillar of any constitutional democracy, and that financing it adequately is a matter of constitutional and democratic obligation.

ELECTION PETITIONS

He commended the High Court and the Court of Appeal for dealing with election petitions and appeals.

He said that though there are no statutory timelines for determination of election petition appeals, the Supreme Court is set to determine those appeals which have been filed before it within a reasonable time.

On the issue of case backlog, the CJ said they have put measures, as part of the Judiciary transformation, to address the challenge.

"I am glad that we have made significant progress just a little over 110,000 cases - 111,973 were more than five years old as of June 30," said Justice Maraga.

The CJ said the colloquium which was opened by his South African counterpart Mogoeng Mogoeng has become an important annual event for the institution.

COLLECTIVE GOALS

"The colloquium enables us to reflect, review, and re-focus our individual and collective goals for the year ahead," said the CJ.

The CJ also urged judges to encourage parties before them to embrace alternative dispute resolution mechanisms not only because they are a constitutional imperative but due to their potential to enhance effectiveness in the delivery of justice.

Justice Maraga said the judges are meeting at a time when the fight against corruption has gathered momentum and the institution is constantly being challenged to "rise to the occasion".

"And to the occasion we shall rise, in a manner that is both consistent with the Constitution and also advances public interest, we shall be professional," said Justice Maraga.

The CJ said they are not asking for a budget equal to ministries like Health or Education noting they are aware the country requires a lot of resources in those ministries.

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