NAIROBI, Kenya, July 14 – Chief Justice Martha Koome marks her first month in office by chairing a key gathering of State actors in the justice sector as part of efforts to achieve social transformation through access to justice.
The special council meeting of the National Council on the Administration of Justice on Friday, will discuss reforms in the justice sector.
The overall mandate of the NCAJ is to coordinate the administration of justice and reforms in the justice sector in an efficient, effective and consultative manner.
Since assuming office, CJ Koome has stressed that the administration of justice to the people of Kenya is a shared mandate. She is intentional about improving coordination of all agencies charged with the justice mandate to improve efficiency.
This is the core part of her vision to support cooperative governance as mandated by the Constitution to improve access to justice.
“My vision for the Judiciary is that we should have Courts of the 21st Century that are independent, efficient, accessible and responsive to the aspirations of Kenyans and true guardians of the rule of the law,” the CJ said this week.
State actors in the NCAJ include the Judiciary, Prisons Service, National Police Service, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Probation and Aftercare Service, State Law Office, and the Witness Protection Agency.
Others are the Office of the President, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Lands.
Friday’s meeting will deliberate reforms in the traffic sector with focus on the reintroduction of roadside courts, imposition of instant fines and a clear regulatory policy for boda boda transport.
On prison de-congestion, the meeting will explore the increased use of alternatives to imprisonment such as community service and plea bargaining.
Consideration will also be given to probation and aftercare as alternatives.
The use of virtual courts to speed up delivery of justice following lessons drawn with the onset of the Covid pandemic will also features, with emphasis on ensuring stable Internet connectivity in prisons and courts.
The NCAJ also formed a special task force to address issues on children in conflict with the law and those in need of care and protection.
The meeting will discuss an audit of old files of children matters to be dealt with as a matter of urgency and enactment of the children’s Bill, 2021 that will address most of the problems in the system.
The clearing of corruption cases remains a key concern for CJ Koome, who on Monday pledged the courts would give priority to the conclusion of over 400 pending corruption cases seeking recovery of assets worth Sh11 billion.
The CJ told officials of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that her administration will pursue timely delivery of justice.
“I said judges must take individual responsibility with a proper case management system,” Justice Koome told the officials led by EACC Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak.
CJ Koome has previously stated that no case should stay in a trial court beyond three years, or in the case of appellate courts, one year.