NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Lawyer Alice Yano shrugged off claims of limited experience in judicial matters as she faced the Judicial Service Commission which concluded interviews for the Chief Justice on Friday.
The 53-year-old cited her 15 years as a distinguished legal professional as being adequate for her to assume the Office of the Chief Justice.
She was responding to commissioner Macharia Njeru who was comparing her with previous candidates who’ve served as judges and legal professionals for decades.
Yano cited among other things, her legal experience which saw her relocate her office from Nairobi to Kajiado county to support women most of whom had limited access to justice.
“I have been a running a law firm since 1996. I have done many matters, maybe most are not in the public limelight but to me those are part of the law. I have done as much as I have, maybe I have just not been in the limelight,” she responded when asked whether any of her cases has had a jurisprudential impact.
Yano further indicated how she has participated in empowering women through her initiatives and through the activities of the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation.
If appointed the CJ, Yano said she will prioritise effective communication in Judiciary in order to earn the trust of the public who she said are not privy to several undertakings in the arm of government.
“There is so much the Judiciary has done that it is good, but to be shrouded in a veil of corruption is not good, one can create a website and even effectively use the service week to communicate what is happening in Judiciary,” the lawyer said.
Responding to a question by Attorney General Kihara, Yano noted that as a CJ, she will prioritize on providing effective training to judicial officers in order to reduce backlog that will subsequently improve delivery of services to Kenyans.
Among the challenges Yano said she faced in her 25 years of legal practice include the disappearance of files, poor infrastructure and poor perception of courts and its officials by the public.
She also cited poor treatment by the magistrate and judicial officers who are not sometimes welcoming to advocates in the courts.
“At times you appear before a magistrate and the treatment you get is not very comforting, the other thing is a perception when you file a case and everything is heard, its like could have bribed the magistrate, it makes one feel there is a suspicion which is wrong,” she added.
The lawyer also expressed her approval of legislation that will give Governors a provision and a timeline to challenge their ouster before a Deputy Governor is sworn in.
Yano, while responding to questions by commissioner Mohammed Warsame, said the provision will allow the Governors to exhaust all channels before their deputies are hastily sworn is as has been witnessed in the past.
“That will be natural justice, that is an issue one has to think deeply about it,” she said in response to Commissioner Warsame’s question.