NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 11 – 109 new Magistrates have taken up office at the Judiciary as efforts to reform the justice arm of the government gather speed.
The group is among 160 candidates who were recently interviewed by the Judicial Service Commission.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga inducted them into office on Wednesday observing that all over the world there had been calls for more magistrates and the trend now was to recruit well-educated laypersons and train them to man lower courts.
“We send you to the four corners of our country, knowing that no place in Kenya is too remote to serve in and none more important that the other. I commend you to various parts of the country to be the apostles of the transformed Judiciary in form, word and deed,” said the CJ.
He also reminded them to uphold integrity as they discharge justice.
“Although we have put in place a competitive remuneration and reward package, I hasten to point out that the Judiciary is not a site for personal enrichment, it is a site for service and calling,” he cautioned.
Mutunga said justice cannot be delivered to Kenyans if the institution suffers an integrity deficit and is perceived as a playground of corruption and refuge of the inept.
“When we take stock of our work it is not by measure of profit or loss but how the decisions we have made have upheld human rights and promoted social justice. Integrity needs to be the first name,” he added.
The Chief Justice urged them to conduct their affairs in a manner that would bring honour to their families, society, Judicial Service and the entire nation.
“We want a court that does not express superior authority but sovereign justice,” he noted. “We have told judges and magistrates that they should stop referring to the courts as my court, you don’t have a court; these are the peoples’ courts!” the CJ asserted.
Justice Joel Ngugi, who is heading the Judiciary Transformation Programme, said the Judiciary must make new pledges to the citizens of Kenya as it seeks to transform.
Last week, Mutunga unveiled a five year Judicial Transformation Framework that will guide the operations of the Judiciary.