, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – President Mwai Kibaki says he is confident that Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is capable of overseeing the much needed transformation of the Judiciary.
Speaking at State House Nairobi where he witnessed the swearing-in of High Court Judge Joel Mwaura Ngugi, Kibaki said that the current judicial system was enjoying good will from Kenyans and expressed confidence it was capable of serving Kenyans efficiently under the leadership of Mutunga.
During the ceremony, the Head of State noted that the appointment of the judge was an indication he was up to the task of discharging his responsibilities in his new capacity.
“Kenyans are looking forward to an efficient judicial service. Strive to serve Kenyans diligently,” the President advised.
The President asserted that there was need for various arms of the government to work closely for the benefit of all Kenyans and in the interests of the majority.
“We are in office for a specific period of time. We must serve the nation and its citizens with commitment,” President Kibaki stated.
He welcomed the new judge in the country and in the newly set-up judiciary.
Ngugi has been working at the Washington University in the United States and joins a growing list of Kenyans in the Diaspora who are joining the public and private sectors after years of working abroad.
He reminded all current appointees to endeavour in serving the nation with a difference because they are only meant to hold their positions for a designated period of time, hence the need to strive to leave a rich legacy by the time of their exit.
The Judiciary has started an ambitious process to reduce case backlogs and stem endemic corruption so as to restore the justice system’s long lost credibility and transform it into a world-class institution.
The reforms will revolutionize the country’s justice system, improve human rights and business environment – besides lowering costs for the public and businesses.
The move is expected to raise the country’s competitiveness by also making it easier for companies to operate by reducing the time it takes to resolve business disputes.
A new team led by Mutunga and his deputy Nancy Baraza, who have been in office for close to 130 days, is spearheading a process that promises to dramatically change the legal system, beginning with the Court of Appeal.
Over 270 positions for new staff have been advertised, 203 magistrates are set for a promotion, digitization of court records is progressing, audits of backlogged cases are being done and a Judiciary transformation framework is in place, among a raft of measures aimed at speeding up the wheels of justice.
During a ceremony to mark his 120 days in office in October, the CJ said he intends to reduce the waiting period for appeal cases from the current average of six years to less than a year.
While giving a progress report on the transformation of the Judiciary at the ceremony last month, Mutunga said the users of the court system had expressed frustrations with the Judiciary’s case management system, including officers who report to work late, sit for very short periods and casually adjourn cases contributing to close to a one million case backlogs.