Maraga defends independence of courts ahead of Monday Supreme sitting

December 9, 2017 11:14 am
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Chief Justice David Maraga, DCJ Philomena Mwilu and Justices Aggrey Muchelule and Hedwig Ong’udi/COURTESY

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – Chief Justice David Maraga has accused some individuals and institutions of reneging on the independence of the judiciary.

He noted that although the independence of the judiciary was entrenched in law, there had been several attempts to encroach on that freedom.

Addressing judges and magistrates in Nakuru when he officially opened the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association conference, the CJ said an independent judiciary was the only guarantee to democracy and fundamental Human Rights.

He urged the judges and magistrates to figure out how to put the judiciary independence encroachers at bay during their three-day meeting in Nakuru.

Chief Justice Maraga said the judiciary was pushing for financial autonomy as a way of increasing its freedom from the other institutions.

“We want to ensure that the judicial fund is fully operational so that we do not have to return whatever remains at the end of a financial year to Treasury,” he said.

He added that this would ensure they finish projects that are not complete by the end of a financial year.

The CJ said the judiciary was also working on improving the terms of judicial officers while at the same time harmonising salaries.

“We have had engagements with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to deal with disparities while at the same time improving our terms in tandem with the increasing cost of living,” he said.

On promotion of judicial officers, Maraga said 160 judges and magistrates had been promoted within the past year as a way of motivating them.

The CJ said the Judicial Service Commission was also putting in measures to ensure the security of judicial officers and the facilities.

“We had cases in Nakuru and Kapsabet where magistrates were attacked by suspects and we are consulting with a view of enhancing security and getting additional police officers at the courts,” he said.

About the disposal of disciplinary cases against judges and magistrates, Maraga said the JSC was overwhelmed but was doing everything possible to determine them.

He said 29 had been handled while 13 were pending.

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