NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 – Justice Kenani Maraga was Wednesday morning sworn in as the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya.
The swearing in ceremony was conducted by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Anne Amadi.
Speaking after witnessing the swearing in ceremony at State House, Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Executive is keen to partner with the Judiciary in ensuring Kenyans receive efficient services.
President Kenyatta noted that in the last five years Kenyans have witnessed changes in the Judiciary but added that the reforms will be meaningless unless Kenyans get quick and effective judicial services.
“Yes we have seen dramatic judgments, but at the same time we must say we have witnessed major weaknesses that exist in the Judiciary,” said the President.
He observed that at the moment there are 20,000 Kenyans languishing in cells because of delayed judgments in courts, saying that is costing both the taxpayer and the victim’s precious time and resources which could be channelled to other economic activities.
“These Kenyans are told their files are lost or some other excuses when they appear in court. It costs us to feed them and keep them in cells,” added the President.
The President expressed concern that although the executive has increased resources to institutions charged with the responsibility of delivering justice to Kenyans, little can be shown of those resources.
He said currently there are 680 corruption cases in court, some of which have taken over three years without being concluded.
“Today, Judiciary has Sh17 billion, Director of Public Prosecution Sh2.2 billion, Auditor General Sh4.4 billion, Judicial Service Commission Sh450 million, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Sh1.7 billion the multi-agency formed to deal with corruption cases Sh2.7 billion and yet there is nothing to show for the money they got,” President Kenyatta said.
The President challenged the incoming Chief Justice to take deliberate steps to speed up conclusion of cases so as to restore the confidence of Kenyans in the Judiciary.
He also said the Judiciary should avoid being used by corrupt cartels in scuttling the Government’s development agenda, saying it is unfortunate that most people who fail to get Government contracts are quick to run to courts where they are issued with injunctions stopping the process of giving services to Kenyans.
He pointed out that whereas the Judiciary is an independent institution it needs to speed up its processes to ensure fairness to all.
In his remarks Justice Maraga pledged to improve service delivery in the justice sector by among other things eliminating corruption within its ranks, reduce the backlog of cases and automate court proceedings.
“I will aspire to enhance access to justice for all and improve performance and accountability within the Judiciary,” said the new Chief Justice.
Justice Maraga also assured Kenyans that the Judiciary is ready to satisfactorily determine any disputes arising from the electioneering process.
“The Judiciary is ready to hear and resolve any election disputes that may arise in a fair and timely manner,” said Justice Maraga.