The Chief Justice, David Maraga has called for more funding of the Judiciary to help the institution take services to the grassroots.
Speaking in Vihiga County on Friday where he opened a Sh.78.4 million court structure funded by World Bank, Maraga said the Judiciary was making relentless efforts to enable all Kenyans access justice with ease, terming it as a key element in the institutional transformation.
The CJ said that one way through which this could be achieved was by construction of more courts at the grassroots level.
He said that if achieved, this would help the public to access justice at a low cost as it would save on time and resources.
However, he explained that in most cases, the initiative was hampered by insufficient resources.
The CJ revealed that the inaugurated Vihiga Court building was among three others namely (Kigumo, Nyando and Makindu) opened within the last one year.
He said that 56 more other facilities in various parts of the Country were still under construction while Nyamira, Molo, Oyugis, Engineer, Chuka and Muhoroni were set to be inaugurated before the end of year.
31 of the ongoing projects are funded by the Government of Kenya whereas 25 are supported by the World Bank through Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP).
Despite the fact that GOK funded projects had experienced delays in the past year, Maraga hailed the Treasury for timely disbursement of the funds which he said would go a long way in ensuring that the targeted projects were completed within the stipulated period.
The CJ urged contractors engaged under the JPIP funded projects to expedite their operations to ensure that their works were completed within the strict timelines of the funding programme, which has been extended to October 2020.
However, he warned that the Judiciary would not hesitate to terminate agreements of those contactors who would not complete projects on time.
Meanwhile, the CJ granted Vihiga Law Court a sub registry of the High Court which would be having sessions one week in a month.
Maraga said this would act as a short term solution to save Vihiga residents from travelling long distances to Kisumu or Kakamega to attend High Court proceedings.
The move followed calls by legislators from the region who called for constitution of a high court in Vihiga.
“I have keenly received calls from your leaders who want the Judiciary to form a High Court here, for now it may be possible since we have a shortage of judges. However, in the near future, it may be possible since interviews for new judges are ongoing. Meanwhile, I can grant you a sub registry of the High Court,” said Maraga.
Accompanying the CJ were Judicial Service Commission Member, Justice David Majanja, Judges attached to Kakamega High Court, Vihiga Deputy Governor, Dr. Patrick Saisi, Legislators, Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Charles Gemose (Hamisi), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) and Ernest Ogesi (Vihiga).
By Isaia Nayika