Wetangula urges CJ to streamline criminal justice system

Chief Justice Martha Koome and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula. [Courtesy]

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula has urged Chief Justice Martha Koome to explore unclear areas within the administration of criminal justice, including those related to forestry, water, and immigration.

Wetang'ula, who has had the privilege of serving in the Legislature and Judiciary, emphasized his understanding of the tensions that often brew between these two arms of government.

"I laud the engagement between the two branches of government, highlighting the importance of a productive working relationship between Parliament and the judiciary," he said.

Speaking when he hosted the Chief Justice in his office, the Speaker commended the Judiciary for tremendous work in producing proposed legislation.

Justice Koome called on Wetang’ula to deliberate on the workings of the two arms of government; the Judiciary and Legislature.

The Speaker and CJ discussed an array of issues including how the two arms of government can collaborate to enhance service delivery to Kenyans.

While advocating for the review of the dispensation of the Kenya criminal Justice system, Koome highlighted the importance of maintaining a humane perspective in handling events to ensure that only those genuinely culpable are held accountable.

She also revealed the judiciary's plan to establish courts in underserved regions, such as the northern corridor, introduction of magistrate courts in every constituency and High Court in every county to expedite cases.

"The Constitution of Kenya 2010 mandated the realignment of all legislation for progress. We have closely collaborated with the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on various legislation,” said the CJ.

Justice Koome stressed the Judiciary's commitment to embracing technology by digitizing court procedures across the country. Despite resource challenges, she reassured that the Judiciary was maximizing available resources for optimal output.

She expressed concerns about the Judiciary’s under funding, noting that it receives only 1 per cent of the GDP. The CJ expressed gratitude for the Sh3 billion allocation received in the last financial year and hoped for a similar allocation during the supplementary budget.

Koome emphasized the need for infrastructure development, investment in human resource, and capacity building to enhance service efficiency.

She said there was a Penal and Criminal Procedure code Amendment Bill that seeks to bring about reforms in criminal law - a realm that has not undergone comprehensive review since 1930.

The CJ emphasized the need for reforms to streamline legal processes and align the laws with the evolving needs and aspirations of the nation.

Furthermore, Koome announced that the Judges' Retirement Bill would be presented to the House in the near future.

The Clerk of the National Assembly, Samuel Njoroge appreciated the Judiciary for establishing the Judiciary Academy indicating that it will ensure capacity building for parliamentary staff to enhance service delivery.

In attendance were National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa, the Justice and Legal Committee Chairperson George Murugara, Court of Appeal Judge Grace Ndenye and Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi.