MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said the Judiciary must be granted its independence in the East African region.
In a speech read on his behalf by Attorney General Paul Kihara during the official opening of the East African Magistrates and Judges Association (EAMJA) annual conference at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa, Kenyatta said Kenya takes pride in ensuring independence of the Judiciary, Executive and the Legislature.
“As a nation we take pride in the independence of our Arms of Government. The judiciary must be given its institutional and operational independence and decisions of the court must be respected,” he said.
He said no matter how powerful or influential they maybe, judges and magistrates must be let to make judgment on the basis of the rule of law.
However, he urged the courts not to be used to make decisions that will undermine public interest.
“Often, public interest is undermined when cases touching on important government investments are held back by endless litigations, injunctions and other conservatory orders,” said President Kenyatta.
He said some of those orders affect speedy development of projects.
“When these orders are obtained, two things happen, taxpayers lose their money paid to contractors and the public is denied access to utilise these projects. I have often said justice delayed is justice denied,” he said.
He added that cases of corruption must not be delayed.
Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga said the Judiciary in East Africa is facing almost the same challenges.
Maraga said the issues of backlog of cases, challenges in rule of law and use of technology in judiciary affect all the nations in the region.
“In East Africa, we face almost the similar challenges, from case backlogs, challenges of technology and challenges of rule of law. Therefore, there is need for us to work together to resolve these challenges,” said Maraga.
At the same time, Maraga said Judiciary has a role in the economic development of a country.
“As the Judiciary, what is our role in assisting our country to be able to develop and achieve the economic prosperity. In my view, it is our duty as the judiciary of the East Africa to ensure our service delivery to is effective,” he said.
He said any disputes arising from within East Africa should be resolved in very short time.
“We should see ourselves as brothers and sisters and as one community. How can we assist this community to harness the economical potential that it has? This can only happen if as judiciary we do our work diligently and effectively,” he said.