NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – A member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Monday warned that the decision to slash down Judiciary budget allocations will have a negative impact on the delivery of justice.
Macharia Njeru, who represents the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) in the Commission, called for a speedy resolution towards the reinstatement of the funds which were hived off by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani as part of efforts to cut the government’s recurrent expenditure by 50 percent.
“While I am aware there are on-going discussions with the relevant organs of government, I urge a speedy resolution geared towards reinstating the budget of the Judiciary. Never again should its funds be withdrawn in this cavalier manner.”
He said the cut is ‘illegal and is aimed at undermining the country’s prospects of having a robust and dependable Judiciary.
“The recent budget cuts against the Judiciary is a shocker to say the least. Administration of justice is critical for the rule of law and sustainability of the economy of our country. As is, the budget allocated to the Judiciary was inadequate. To cut it even further can only have the effect of grinding to a halt the operations of this critical arm of the government,” said Njeru who joined the Commission in May after a hotly contested election.
Njeru regretted the sad turn of events is sad as it will see the withdrawal of the ‘little funds’ allocated to the Judiciary Digitization Project which je was key to addressing backlog of cases that the Judiciary has been grappling with.
“The Judiciary has a role to play on ease of doing business in Kenya by expeditiously determining disputes which begs the question; how is it to do this if it is grossly underfunded?” he wondered.
The 11-member JSC comprises of Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu (representing Supreme Court), Justice Mohammed Warsame (Court of Appeal), Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Emily Ominde (Magistrates Courts) Mercy Deche (Vice Chairperson- LSK) and Patrick Gichohi.
Others are Felix Koskei and Prof Olive Mugenda.
The mandate of the Commission is to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice.
LSK has sued Yattani over the directive citing that it will lead to immediate suspension of judicial service weeks, operations of mobile courts and all tribunal sittings, roll-out of the ICT programme and internet services to all courts in Kenya.
The CS sanctioned all ministries, departments and agencies to rationalize their expenditure to address prevailing revenue shortfalls, the aim being to Finance the Jubilee government’s Big Four agenda.