, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 27 – The office of the Chief Justice (CJ) has assured Kenyans that cases will not stall despite the ongoing purge by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board that has already seen four judges lose their jobs.
Speaking during a Law Society of Kenya luncheon, the Registrar of the High Court Gladys Shollei said the CJ’s office had already listed the affected cases to determine whether they should start afresh or be assigned to other judges.
“We are keeping the numbers and reconstituting the benches. We are trying to mitigate that as much as possible. But we expect that the Vetting Board will make decisions as quickly as possible,” she said.
She further said the Judiciary has organised other mechanisms to deal with the work of High Court judges who will be facing the Board in the next phase so that there are less backlog of cases.
She said they are ready to advertise for positions to ensure judicial work continues smoothly.
She was reacting to Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chairman Eric Mutua who expressed concerns that cases were likely to be dismissed or delayed following the decisions by the Vetting Board.
Mutua also put the Judiciary on notice that there is likelihood that a big number of judges of the High Court will be sacked in the ongoing vetting.
“We expect not less than 20 judges will be asked to step aside. In that case, there should be a mechanism to mitigate the losses. The CJ should take a step so that wheels of justice do not halt progress of cases,” he said.
The chairman of the Vetting Board Sharad Rao again urged relevant organisations and the rest of the public to give their views whether positive or negative about the judges to help them in their work.
He expressed concerns that there was reluctance in surrendering information to the Board during the first phase of vetting of Court of Appeal judges.
“This is a unique opportunity, if you miss it don’t blame the Vetting Board for it,” he asserted.
Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala urged LSK to be stringent in its organisational and membership to encourage legal professionalism and lock out incidences of corruption that has led to lack of or delayed justice.
“There has been disappearance of case files, how do lawyers contribute to this? How do they contribute to backlog of cases? Those who lack the moral authority should be banished. LSK should lead the way in transformation,” Wanjala said.
He further warned advocates involved in Industrial Court cases advising them that intimidation and ultimatums block room for dialogue.
He urged them to also advise their clients professionally to ensure proper avenues of resolving industrial unrests are addressed amicably.