NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16 – Chief Justice Martha Koome has unveiled an 8-pillar judiciary transformation agenda anchored on efficiency, accountability and social justice.
Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday during the launch of her vision of social transformation through access and the Performance Management and Measurement Understandings Report (PMMU), 2019/2020 Koome said the vision is a roadmap for the future of the Judiciary under her stewardship.
“On 21st May 2021, I took the oath of office as Kenya’s 15th Chief Justice following a transparent and competitive recruitment process by the Judicial Service Commission. Today, I see my tenure as Chief Justice as affording me and all who work in the Judiciary, the opportunity to champion the cause of realizing the dream of many Kenyans for this institution as signaled in the Constitution,” she said.
The Chief Justice said that the vision christened “Social Transformation Through Access to Justice” is predicated on eight guiding principles; Accessibility and Efficiency; Transparency and Accountability; Inclusiveness and Shared Leadership; Cooperative Dialogue and Social Justice.
Koome said that her vision for the Kenyan judiciary is to develop an independent, vibrant, efficient, and accessible institution that is responsive to the aspirations of Kenyans and serves as a true guardian of the rule of law and the democracy.
“It is within this context that I consulted with the leadership of the Judiciary, management, and my office assisted by Dalberg International to develop my Vision for the Judiciary. My Vision for the Judiciary builds on the achievements of previous judicial reforms encompassed in the two preceding Judiciary Blueprints: The Judiciary Transformation Framework (JTF) (2012-2016) and the Sustaining Judicial Transformation (SJT) (2017-2021) and is aligned with the Judiciary Strategic Plan 2019-2023,” said Koome.
She said that the provisions highlight and affirm that the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 is a Charter for Social Transformation hence an anchor for the vision.
“The Constitution in its values, principles and rules reflects the desire by Kenyans to break with our country’s past of authoritarian governance and unequal society and strike in a radically different path of creating a democratic, accountable, participatory, and egalitarian state and society,” Koome said.
“It means that Kenyans by enacting the 2010 Constitution intended to create a Responsive State geared towards enhancing public welfare and constructing a just society,” she said.
The Chief Justice said that the Judiciary, under her leadership, will be focused on opening and broadening its doors to litigants and rendering justice to all who seek it within our borders.
The CJ added that the goal of widening access to justice will only be attained if there is an efficient, cost-effective, accessible, and fair system of delivery of justice in place.
Koome stated that the eight principles is geared towards ensuring that the Kenyan Judiciary is a strong institution that is accessible, efficient, and protects the rights of all Kenyans.
She further admitted that despite the achievements in 10 years under Chief Justices Willy Mutunga and David Maraga, the Judiciary continues to face challenges related to access and responsive justice, case backlog, and accountability.
“Addressing these challenges requires an approach which recognizes the gains made but also seeks to chart a path that ensures that we meet the goal of building an institution that is truly accessible, responsive to public needs and inspires and engenders the confidence of the people that we serve,” she said.
The Chief Justice further said that the Judiciary will strive to remove barriers to access to justice and ensure that all persons especially, the most vulnerable in the society are able to get justice.
“In addition, we will endeavor to ensure that the public has confidence in the institution by dealing firmly, and swiftly but also fairly with concerns related to integrity and corruption that may arise within the institution,” said Koome.
She added that the Judiciary will take effective steps to reduce the obstacles that hinder access to justice and focus on addressing the proximity and physical access to courts to ensure quick determination and hearing of cases across the country.
“We should not have any litigant travelling more than 100 kilometers to access a court; and no court case should be dragging in judicial corridors for more than three (3) years in a Trial Court and one (1) year in an Appellate Court,” said the Chief Justice.
The event was attended by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Deputy Speaker of the Senate Margaret Kamar, Senator Jennifer Shamalla and Justice Agnes Murgor, the Chairperson of Administration of Justice and Performance Management Committee.