Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome has launched the second phase of the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aids Delivery Programme (PLEAD) to resound in the justice sector by creating ripple change and reforms that will touch the lives of countless Kenyans.
Speaking during the event in Nairobi, the CJ said that PLEAD has been essential in the realization of strategic objectives in the justice sector within collective and individual institutions.
Koome noted that the partnership, with a total investment of EUR 35.3 million, would build on successes achieved during the first phase and support renewed collective quests as sectors in the justice sector deepen access to justice, consequently enhancing inter-agency collaboration and efficiency in the country’s institutions.
“During the last five years, I have borne witness to your passion, valued partnership, and commitment to this country towards strengthening the rule of law and administration of justice by promoting ideals that are cohesive, accountable, and efficient in the justice system,” said Koome.
She added that the end-term evaluation of PLEAD’s first phase in 2022 attested to the power of collaboration and coordination under the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ), with relevance, efficiency, and flexibility being at its frontier in the justice sector for Kenyan society.
Koome acknowledged that access to justice for the vulnerable has been an important cause, stating that since the initiative was introduced, Alternative Justice Systems (AJS), such as the framework policies, county action plans, and training of 354 Community Service Order (Probation) Officers, together with other national partners, have greatly benefited from its contribution, citing areas like child justice, technology, and sexual and gender-based violence.
Further, she remarked that renewed focus on technology PLEAD I enabled the system to be people-focused justice, noting that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judiciary transitioned to electronic justice as a primary mode of delivering justice for Kenyans with over 600 computers and video conferencing equipment that continue to facilitate access to justice, including for those imprisoned.
“PLEAD has shown us that when we pull together, we can indeed push the frontiers of justice for all,” said Koome.
The Judiciary boss lauded the broadening of national beneficiaries in its second phase, akin to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), National Police Service (NPS), Directorate of Children’s Services (DCS), and Kenya Prison Service (KPS), affirming that the widened support would transform and expand the whole justice chain in nine additional counties as well as endorse inclusivity.
“Our strength lies in our unity and shared vision of a just and equitable society. As we move forward, let us remember that we are stronger together and that our collective efforts will yield far greater results than any one of us could achieve alone,” the CJ maintained.
By Phinta Amondi