, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 28 – The launch of Judiciary’s 2017/18 Performance Index is currently underway at the Supreme Court.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Chief Guest at this year’s launch, arrived at the Supreme Court Buildings at 9 am on Thursday flanked by Deputy President William Ruto, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, and his Senate counterpart Ken Lusaka.
The State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice (SOJAR) Report outlines key milestones made in the judicial arm including conclusion of cases in various courts.
Chief Justice David Maraga is expected to enumerate achievements attained since the release of SOJAR 2016/17 report in December 2017 during which he undertook to have the hearing of over 60,000 cases pending in court for over five years expedited.
“66,214 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 said on December 15, 2017.
According to the 2016/17 report, a total of 344,180 cases were filed at different courts nationwide during the reporting period (Financial Year 2016/17), bringing the total caseload to 533,350.
To achieve speedy delivery of justice, CJ Maraga had said the Judiciary was already working on an ambitious project geared towards establishing a High Court in each of the 47 counties countrywide, in conformity with Section 12 (1) of the High Court Organization and Administration Act.
He said that thirty-nine High Courts were already in existence in 38 counties with the establishment of three of these courts in Makueni, Nyahururu and Narok counties.
Maraga at the time assured that the establishment of High Courts in the remaining nine counties will be quickened.
“In addition, we aim to establish at least one Magistrates Court in each of the 290 sub-counties,” he said.
The CJ, however, noted strides made in expanding the workforce of the Judiciary highlighting the increase of judges serving in superior court from 53 in the year 2011 to 159 currently.
In the 2016/17 reporting period alone, 28 judges were enlisted, Justice Maraga revealing that the male-female gender ratio of judges was standing at 60:40.
Overall, for every 52-male staff at the Judiciary, there are 48 female employees.
Justice Maraga also reported the completion of the construction of ten courts in Bungoma, Garsen, Rongo and Mpeketoni during the period under review.
“Another five courts in Chuka, Kigumo, Engineer, Molo, and Makindu are complete and awaiting hand over in the first quarter of next year (2018),” he remarked in his address during SOJAR 2016/17.
Justice Maraga said the current allocation to the Judiciary, which remains at an average of 1 per cent of the national budget, could not sustain some of the undertakings including the proposed construction of a new Court of Appeal in Upper Hill to pave way for its relocation from the Supreme Court buildings.
“Indeed, in this financial year, it (judiciary funding/allocation) slipped to 0.99 per cent. This falls below the internationally recommended Judiciary Budget of 2.5 per cent of the national budget,” he pointed out albeit a 67 per cent absorption rate.
Maraga said the absorption rate of funds allocated to the Judiciary had however moved from 54 per cent in the 2015/16 Financial Year.
According to Maraga some 127 of the 5,619 staff of the judiciary were either interdicted or on suspension as a result of misconduct during the 2016/17 reporting period.
He affirmed that the Judiciary will not condone corruptions among its ranks.
The President of the Supreme Court also promised to champion the digitization of all courts by the end of his tenure with the ultimate goal of ensuring that judges shift from longhand writing which has been partly blamed for prolonged periods of determination of matters in courts.