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President Uhuru tells Judiciary to accept criticism as report reveals Kenyans are very litigious

By Kamau Muthoni | Published Sat, December 16th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 15th 2017 at 23:12 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre), Chief Justice David Maraga and his deputy Philomena Mwilu during a tour of the Judiciary Museum at the Supreme Court in Nairobi yesterday. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the Judiciary to accept criticism from other arms of government.

Uhuru, who spoke during the launch of the Judiciary Performance Report at the Supreme Court in Nairobi Friday, said that the Judiciary should be ready to have its actions and decisions faulted.

He was categorical that Chief Justice David Maraga should grow a thick skin as the reproach will be a bitter pill to swallow.

“For the next matter, I speak from my experience as a politician, we also must accept criticism comes with office; whether in the media, journals, public baraza, social media and indeed even from me. Kenyans will say what they have to say, and most of the times it will not be flattering. However that is democracy. As I have learnt anyway, one or two things, first grow a thick skin CJ, second consult,” he said.

President Kenyatta also raised concerns over slow disposal of cases, especially commercial ones which take at least one year to be determined, a factor that hurts businesses and investors.

“We still have a long delay of commercial cases that takes 459 days to determine. We must find a way of resolving this. Equally, while exercising its mandate, the Judiciary must be mindful of the effects of its actions to the other arms of government and how it affects the lives of ordinary Kenyans,” Kenyatta said.

He added: “Any decision that negatively affects the desire of a prosperous life of a Kenyan should be carefully interrogated before being undertaken. The administration of justice should not be shrouded with intrigues that only a few understand.”

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He called for co-operation between Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. “We are all one Government. We must find a way of partnering as a matter of urgency.”

He noted that the country’s interest lays on the shoulders of the three arms of Government.

The Chief Justice announced that the backlog of cases has reduced significantly from an estimated 1 million in 2010, to more than 300,000 now.

He said that Kenyans are litigious and in the last year, a total 344,000 cases were filed. “Due to inefficiencies in our Judiciary in the past, and the very litigious nature of our population, our courts are still grappling with high numbers of cases that should have been concluded long ago,” the CJ said. “Your Excellency, you see how litigious your people are.”

He noted that 66,214 cases are five years and older. Maraga said that all the cases that are more than five years will be done away within a year.

A total of 3,132 anti-corruption cases were registered in the courts. The CJ said that at least 72.4 per cent of the corruption cases had a positive conviction.

The Judiciary also took disciplinary action against 127 judicial officers and staff who were either suspended or interdicted over corruption.

Sh1.1 billion was fused back to the economy after the commercial court mediated 93 cases.

The CJ said mediation should be fully adopted in the Family Division to save time and money in succession cases.

On Parliament and Executive being sued, the CJ said that although the arms of Government ought to be interdependent, the courts will not hesitate to rule against them if evidence and arguments are not in their favour.

“Even though we may not always rule in favour of the Government, this does not make us enemies. And so we will continue ruling in its favour some times, and against it on other occasions as guided by the law and the evidence before us.”

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