NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- Chief Justice Martha Koome has urged Kenyans to embrace alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve conflicts even as she committed to do her best to deliver justice.
Speaking shortly after taking over as Kenya’s first female Chief Justice, Koome discouraged daily litigation and vowed to work with her colleagues.
“We intend to create an enabling environment where everybody is treated with dignity to attain sustainable development. We will be emphasizing on reconciliation because this is our country and whatever is not working we must find solutions and solutions are within us,” she said.
And she advised; “We can uphold the Constitution by avoiding the pitfalls that lead to conflicts and endless litigation.”
She also vowed to continue with the judicial reforms initiated by her predecessors David Maraga and Willy Mutunga.
While committing to protect the independence of the Judiciary, Koome stated that this will ensure judiciary functions are supported and smooth delivery of justice.
“I have no difficulties in stating that the independence of the Judiciary in decision making cannot be interfered with. Our decision-making, in the hiring of staff, that independence is protected and reinforced in the Constitution. Any party or authority attempting to direct how the judiciary should decide on a matter would be in violation of the Constitution,” she said.
She also emphasized the need for the Executive to allocate adequate funding to the judiciary.
“The executive has a duty to ensure budgetary allocations that support the functions of the judiciary, to ensure that we get the support necessary for the court orders to be obeyed and implemented and that the investigations and prosecution of cases are taken efficiently,” she added.
Koome took the oath of office as the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya Friday at a historic ceremony witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
She became the 15th Chief Justice and the first female to ascend to the highest judicial office in the country’s history.
Justice William Okello Ouko was also sworn in as a Judge of the Supreme Court at the same ceremony that was conducted by Attorney General Paul Kihara while Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Otieno Amadi administered the Oaths of Office.
President Kenyatta congratulated Koome and Ouko on their appointments and urged them to ensure justice is served at all times in accordance with the Constitution and the established rule of law.
He expressed optimism that the two judges will succeed in their new roles, noting that they were both well-grounded in their careers having risen through the ranks of Kenya’s judicial system.
“We will pray for you. We know you will succeed. We are there to partner with you and to work with you as the Executive branch of Government,” President Kenyatta said.