Appeal Court Judge William Ouko on Wednesday decried the high levels of tribalism, saying that it is a dangerous disease also affecting the Judicial Service Commission.
Ouko who appeared before the JSC during his interviews for the Supreme Court Judge position though acknowledged the problem said he does not have a remedy he can tell the JSC to use.
“It’s our turn to eat syndrome is a very dangerous disease affecting our country. I really don’t have a prescription. All I know is we are very deeply tribal even in this commission,” he said while answering questions from JSC commissioner Felix Koskei who asked what can be done to remedy the issue of tribalism and people wanting their ‘own’ to be hired.
Ouko was categorical that currently the Judiciary is retarded because of the way it is treated and appealed to the arms of government to support it so as to function at an optimum level.
“All the three arms of government must operate at the same level financially so as to achieve equity,” Ouko said, admitting that they need more than financial muscle but more judges as well with the Court of Appeal not functioning as it should.
He cited discrepancies in budget allocations noting that Parliament gets Shs 37 billion, while Judiciary gets a paltry Shs 17 billion which in turn makes the two not to operate optimally.
He further called on the JSC to establish gaps highlighted by different stakeholders, the public being key, and seal them to ensure more transparency and accountability.
“The work judges do cannot be equated to football matches because there is no draw as there will always be a loser and a winner. Losers will always look for excuses there has never been a specific case because we would have people before EACC and courts,” he said.
Ouko further stated that he supports the JSC nominee for the position of Chief Justice Martha Koome adding that they have had a good working relationship previously as the Appeal Court president.
If given the chance to be a Supreme Court judge, Justice Ouko said, he will strive to reduce the backlog of cases and ensure the court becomes real-time.
JSC interviews for the position of a Supreme Court judge began on Monday with Justice Said Juma Chitembwe as the first to face a panel followed by Justice David Njagi Marete.
Justice Mathews Nduma Nderi and Dr Justry Patrick Lumumba Nyaberi were interviewed on Tuesday, while Justice William Okello Ouko, Justice Joseph Kiplagat Sergon and Ms Alice Yano Jepkoech faced the panel on Wednesday.
The three were also interviewed for the Chief Justice position a fortnight ago.
Court of Appeal Judge Koome was nominated for the position and her name forwarded to President Kenyatta and then to Parliament for vetting.
By Alice Gworo