Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome Friday commemorated her one year in office through observance of the inaugural Judiciary National Day of Prayer and Fasting held at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi.
Speaking at the event, CJ Koome stated that she chose to celebrate her one year in office as CJ through prayer because she believes no individual can do anything significant and succeed without the support of others and the grace of God.
“In my first year we have built strong partnerships with other institutions in the justice sector and I am confident that, working together, we will be able to deliver on the ambitious vision of the Judiciary that is anchored on the idea of social transformation through access to Justice,” said the CJ.
Koome outlined the defining spirit of that vision which also resonates with the defining mood within the justice sector as deepening access to justice and enhancing the efficiency of the system of justice.
“The Constitution vests the sacred role of defense and enforcement of the transformative imperatives of the Constitution in the Judiciary,” said Koome.
She at the same time called upon judicial officers hearing cases in courts and tribunals to protect people who seek justice and especially the voiceless, the weak and the vulnerable.
“In our institution we are building initiatives aimed at widening the doors of justice. We have held very successful discussions to operationalize the Judiciary Fund which is key to securing the financial independence of the Judiciary,” she added.
The CJ cited the establishment of a Judiciary Police Unit with 3,000 police officers as one of the achievements of the Judiciary, noting that it will secure court infrastructure, personnel and users including Judges and witnesses.
“Our goal of revamping judicial education has also received a shot in the arm through the allocation of 55 acres of land which will enable us realize the long-held dream of establishing a home for the Kenya Judiciary Academy,” said Koome.
The CJ stressed the importance of embracing technological changes and stated that the Judiciary is working towards the establishment of fully functional e-Courts throughout the country.
“The Judiciary has partnered with Huduma Kenya to operationalize Judiciary Desks at Huduma Kenya to assist people access online judicial services in a cost- effective way,” she stated.
Koome announced that the Judiciary also has plans of putting in place a Judiciary Service Desks in 52 Huduma Centres across the country.
The CJ noted that the Judiciary will continue to work towards attaining its target of ensuring that matters in the Small Claims Court are concluded within sixty days, those in Trial Courts are concluded within three years, and those in the Court of Appeal are concluded within one year, whilst also fast-tracking anti-corruption and commercial cases.
“All these initiatives and interventions that I have highlighted reflect our earnest desire to transform our system of delivery of justice and also position the judiciary to play a catalytic role in transforming the state and society,” said Koome.
In her remarks, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu lauded the efforts of the Chief Justice, Judges and Magistrates for always dispensing their mandate through guidance from the constitution and their solemn oath before God.
“Our work in service to the people of Kenya must be guided by the hands of God, without God in the middle of our endeavors then all we do is in vain,” she said.
By Michael Mulinge and Edwin Mang’eni