Governors fight for Judiciary’s rights

Chief Justice David Maraga and his deputy flanked with other JSC members. Maraga has blamed the backlog in cases on delayed swearing in of judges PHOTO/ MICHAEL Mbugua

Nairobi, KENYA: After the national treasury reduced judiciary budget by almost half the amount, the Council of Governors has now called upon parliament and the National Treasury to reconsider its decision and to reinstate the judiciary’s budget so that it can deliver services optimally to all Kenyans.

Council of Governors’s chair Josphat Nanok through a statement to the newsroom on Friday said that with the budget cuts, it is very likely that many of judiciary projects will stall, thereby compromising access to justice for many Kenyans and at the end, it is the citizens who will suffer.

“The judiciary is the arm of government that interprets the law and ensures that the rule of law, the principles and values of the Constitution are upheld and respected. It is the judiciary that guarantees access to justice to all Kenyans. In this regard, it would be in bad faith for Parliament and the National Treasury to allocate the judiciary a development budget of a meagre Kes.50 million and expect judges and magistrates to deliver timely judicial services to Kenyans. Indeed, this action is unfair and misinformed,” read part of the statement.

Nanok who is also Turkana governor noted that Judiciary began constructions of courts in all counties where significant progress was made as courts were been opened in areas where none existed before but with the budget cuts, it is very likely that many of such projects will stall, thereby compromising access to justice for many Kenyans.

“The Constitution further states at Article 159 that judicial authority is derived from the people and vests in, and shall be exercised by, courts and tribunals. Essentially, any affront to the judiciary, is an affront to the people of Kenya. An attack on the independence of the judiciary is an attack on Kenyans themselves” it reads.

The chair also stated that, In recognizing the earlier comments made by Parliament implying their discontent with certain judiciary pronouncements, it is clear that Parliament and the National Treasury are intent on crippling the operations and independence of the Judiciary which is a blatant violation on the Constitution and it must stop.

This week on Tuesday, president of the court David Maraga raised the alarm that Judiciary was staring at dire financial constraints in the 2018/19 financial year which could cripple major development projects.

Maraga said Judiciary had asked for sh31.2 billion during the budget-making process but Treasury and parliament allocated only sh14.5 billion only, when they were initially demanding for 11.4 billion for development, but received only sh50 million.

During African Bar Conference at Kenyatta International Convention Center KICC, Deputy President William Ruto however gave an assurance that the government will review budget allocation to the Judiciary whereby, the executive will engage legislators to find a solution to the affected budget cut.