, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – Eighty four percent of Kenyans have confidence in the judiciary, a new poll has shown.
Twenty two percent indicated total confidence in the courts while 62 percent said that they had varied degree of trust in the courts.
The poll conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting indicated that 13 percent of Kenyans have no trust at all in the judiciary while another 3 percent were non-responsive.
Infotrak Chief Executive Officer Angela Ambitho attributed the confidence levels to the visible steps being taken to reform the judiciary, for instance the vetting of judges.
“These people who said that they somewhat trust the judiciary are still sceptical about reforms. They want to see more change before they trust the courts,” Ambitho said adding that some respondents want corruption eradicated in the courts and all the judges vetted.
Delays in court proceedings was cited as the main challenge facing access to justice in Kenya at 42 percent, followed by lack of transparency (21pc), Poverty (19pc), procedural technicalities in the legal system (16pc) and language barrier (14pc).
Reasons cited for confidence in the judiciary included the fact that some judges have been vetted; that there has been impartiality and fairness in recruiting and that the judiciary has had a good track record with notable reforms being realised.
Ambitho said that those with no confidence wanted to see more radical developments in the judiciary that will result in among other things easier access to justice.
“There are things that need to be done so that people feel that things are moving progressively… like the expediting of cases and they would also like to see courts brought near them so that they do not walk or travel long distances to the courts,” explained Ambitho noting that 35 percent of the respondents mentioned that they walk for more than 10 kilometres to access courts.
Seventy percent of the respondents said that they have confidence in the leadership of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga while 18 percent did not have confidence in him.
Nyanza, Nairobi and Eastern provinces gave the judiciary the highest performance rating at 68 percent, 61 percent and 60 percent respectively, while Central and Western regions recorded lower performance ratings with 53 and 55 percent respectively.
Sixty two percent of the surveyed respondents considered the cost for accessing justice unaffordable. Majority (68 percent) of the respondents who found the costs unaffordable were from rural areas compared to urban (56 percent).
The respondents however manifested low awareness levels on the Supreme Court as 64 percent gave an incorrect response or didn’t know the highest court in the country.
Thirty five percent said that they know the High Court as the highest court in the country, while 21 percent felt it was the Court of Appeal and two percent magistrates’ courts.
The poll was commissioned by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenyan chapter and was conducted between June 15 and 29, from a total of 1,500 respondents.