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Why Judiciary must now learn to do things differently

By - | October 20th 2012 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By John Gerezani

Major things have happened in the recent past within the criminal justice system, which have left many wondering whether we are progressing or going back to our old ways.

 Let’s start with the Judiciary, which gave its first Annual State of the Judiciary Report yesterday in an event largely rehearsed last Sunday by two notable columnists known to have Chief Justice Willy Mutunga’s ear. Talk of preparing the ground.

I have deep respect for Dr Mutunga and I have lauded the good work he and his Chief Registrar are doing but I still refuse to sweep under the carpet pertinent issues regarding the vetting of particular judges and the perceived influence by vested interests.

I also found a tard suspect the opinion poll results released just at the same time the Judiciary was hard-pressed to answer with hard facts concerns raised but that’s for another day.

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Two issues here: One, it is now obvious the criminal division of our high courts are not working at optimum levels.

 Not because of the old excuses of lack of judges (they’ve been hired by the busload), but because the avalanche of civil society filed constitutional applications have taken centre stage. 

Our jails are teeming with inmates crying that their appeals be heard, but who cares anyway in a country where two sets of justice apply depending on one’s social status.

Secondly, I heard the CJ rationalising the decision to buy a custom made crib for the holder of that office. I must confess the advert in the papers on the specifications needed suggest only one thing: That there is a house already identified and all that remains is the formalisation of the deal. It’s hard to imagine a house fitting those exact specs.

Prudence demands that the Judiciary seeks land from the Government, perhaps close to the Vice-President’s new residence, gets some reputable Chinese construction firm, pick a couple of inmates to provide labour at half the market rate, get building stones from the prison quarries and voila ... we have a customised official CJ residence next year at a cost effective rate and nominal public backlash.

 The Judiciary is now independent and it must learn to do things differently if it wants to keep the public confidence.

Over to the Police Department, which is about to go through the most comprehensive overhaul in history, thanks to the new Constitution. I am glad the Police Service Commission has taken to its task with gusto and the long awaited clean up will restore Kenyans’ pride and confidence in the law enforcement agencies.

 I advice the Johnstone Kavuludi-led team to apply Chapter Six to the letter during the vetting basing special emphasis on the Nancy Baraza and Mumo Matemu parameters, while at the same time insulating itself from the shenanigans that have bedevilled the Constitution of a new Public Service Commission.

Every qualified Kenyan must have a fair go at it while I expect those fear mongering top cops, who threatened an apocalypse should a civilian clinch the top post to be made to account for their utterances should they apply for the positions on offer.

Those who believe that the police have no duty intervening in clash torn areas before being sanctioned by Cabinet have no business applying for the posts.

What I know for sure is that all the skeletons are coming out of the cupboard as long suffering cops give insights into corruption during recruitment, fiddling with and non payment of out of station allowances, misappropriation of suspects’ bond money as well as unaccountability on fuel, maintenance and informers funds.

I cannot wait to see some officers moved to tears when asked to explain the source of their massive wealth in prime areas mostly registered under relatives’ names so as to avoid scrutiny. Remember the suspect murder of SSP Chemorei as ably covered by KTN?

The chickens are coming home to roost. The final cog in the criminal justice system of course is the Prisons Department, which also has its fair share of drama.

The writer comments on social issues

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Judiciary Chief Justice Willy Mutunga
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