, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Chief Justice David Maraga has embarked on a three-day tour of the Coast region which will see him launch and review ongoing construction projects at three court stations.
In Kwale, Justice Maraga laid a foundation stone for the construction of Kwale High Court on Monday morning.
He was later expected to oversee handing over of the Msambweni Kadhi’s Court built through the support of the Constituency Development Fund.
The CJ is expected in Taita Taveta on Tuesday to review the progress of the construction of a new building to house the Voi High Court.
On Wednesday, Justice Maraga will head to Mombasa where he will lay the foundation stone for the construction of a new building to house the Mombasa High Court.
The head of the Judiciary is also expected to hold a series of consultative meetings with stakeholders during his tour.
According to the State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report (SOJAR) 2016-2017, published in December 2017, the Judiciary is keen on enhancing access to justice by ensuring court facilities are established closer to citizens.
The establishment of a High Court station in each of the 47 counties as required by Section 12 (1) of the High Court Organisation and Administration Act was identified as a key target in the report released on December 15.
“We already have established 39 High Courts in 38 counties, meaning, only nine counties still remain without a High Court station,” Justice Maraga reported during the release of SOJAR 2016/17.
“Makueni, Nyahururu and Narok High Court stations were established during the reporting period,” he remarked.
The Judiciary is also seeking to establish a Magistrate’s Court in each of the 290 sub-counties (constituencies) nationwide according to the report.
The report also captured an increase in the number of judicial officers with the appointment of 28 new judges during the period under review.
“Whereas at the start of the transformation journey in 2011 Kenya had only 53 judges, today, the number stands at 159, with 28 having been appointed in the year under review,” Justice Maraga said.
The number of magistrates stood at 421 and that of Kadhis at 55 by the time the report was being published.
The judges, magistrates, and Kadhis, however, face an uphill task – that of expediting the clearance of 533,350 cases pending at various courts – with over 60,000 of those having been in pendency for between 5-10 years.
According to Maraga, these cases – 66,214 in number – will be concluded by the end of 2018.
“Sixty-six thousand, two hundred and fourteen cases are aged 5-10 years and we have embarked on an accelerated case clearance programme to conclude all cases that are older than five years by the end of 2018,” Maraga announced during the SOJAR 2016/17 launch.