Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome has called judges and judicial officers, to stick to the rule of law, and that which the Constitution, the law and our oath of office tells them to do, even as they expedite cases to serve justice
Koome urged judicial officers to ensure that impartiality, independence, fairness, and power to protect the Constitution, and to render service with integrity and competency, are their hallmark as enshrined in the constitution.
CJ Koome once more reiterated on the need to protect the independence of the Judiciary stating that no judge should decide on cases based on the direction of any party or authority.
“We are servants of the people. The oath of office that l took to qualify to assume the office of the Chief Justice is not different from that which was taken by all of us, judges, magistrates, kadhis and members of the tribunals,” she said.
CJ Koome further acknowledged the existence of corruption within the Judiciary saying there presently exists too many such cases pending in the courts.
Koome who spoke while officially assuming office, promised to ensure that no case remains in the justice system for longer than 3 years at any given time, vowing to continue with the legacy of retired CJ David Maraga which ensured that all cases above 5 years in all courts were concluded.
“This is doable if we all embraced a case management system and the multi-door approaches that are now available to us such as the court users’ committees, court annexed mediation, small claims court and alternative justice system,” she said.
Koome noted that there is a need to expedite the promises of the 2010 Constitution so that Kenyans can realize the benefits.
“As an institution that generates almost Shs3 billion shillings annually, this revenue can be an important first step in addressing some of the challenges we currently face,” she noted, adding that as an institution they will continue to agitate for additional funding and a sustainable budget for these investments and judiciary functions.
The CJ asserted that her role is to advocate for the resources to ensure that the structures needed are physically and representationally present at every court station so that every player can enjoy the fruits of this system.
Retired CJ David Maraga, who was present, urged Koome to ensure the independence of Judiciary, is guarded jealously, adding that constitutional power is constrained power.
“I have faith that you are equal to the task ahead, “Maraga told Koome.
Retired judge Effie Owuor, the first judge who served in Judiciary, glorified Koome, and said that the country has given power to not only a jurist but a friendly person, God-fearing woman and a balanced person.
“After you retire, I am sure we will say she was a gift,” she stated.
Also present at the ceremony was Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, JSC Chairperson Olive Mugenda and Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Ann Amadi, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki among other dignitaries.
By Alice Gworo