NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – High Court Judge David Majanja has urged civil society groups to help build confidence in the Judiciary after the landmark Supreme Court decision on the presidential petition filed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Majanja says that the Judiciary cannot work in isolation as it represents the will of the people.
Speaking during a forum by the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) on Monday, Majanja said Kenyans had started having confidence in the Judiciary after the country acquired a new Constitution.
“By our leaders taking their elections dispute to court, it signified they already have confidence in it,” Majanja pointed out. “Democracy has really grown in our country, if it was in the past, I could not address you as we were not allowed.”
He however urged them to engage the government in implementing the Constitution and in its development agenda. “Let’s criticise the ruling of the court but we should know we are bound to the ruling of it by the law. If a matter has not been ruled out by the Supreme Court, there is an avenue of reviewing it.”
Majanja has also challenged women, youth and other special interest groups to engage more in leadership so that they can be involved in decision making. “You need to become a party member in order to be nominated and to fully participate in the party activities.”
He said that it was a challenge that many people with disabilities had shunned politics. “Most of those seeking to be nominated have never become party members.”
Majanja urged Kenyans to develop the culture of building institutions that we help deal with some matters unlike taking everything to court.
“Let’s build strong institutions that deal with some matters instead of taking everything to court; for example institution like Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to deal with corruption issues,” he affirmed.
He said the greater role of civil groups would be to ensure these institutions are accountable.
Speaking during the forum also, CRECO chairperson Collins Owuor urged the government to exercise the principles of fairness, equity and transparency in their appointments in various government positions.
“A democratic Constitution speaks of electoral accountability, citizenship rights and obligations, protection of minorities and sanctions against governments and their executives who transgress or violate the letter and spirit of the fundamental document,” Owuor said.
He challenged East African countries to continue promoting democracy.
“Though most countries have made commitments to regional and internationally principles of democracy, there is still need to put in place legislation, institutions, codes of conduct and other necessary enforcement mechanisms to further promote and protect the integrity of electoral processes,” he added.