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Give Judiciary money to put up court buildings

By Samson Nyasimi | March 11th 2021
The Judiciary building in Nairobi.

Last Friday, Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Philomena Mwilu issued a statement over the temporary closure of Kericho law courts due to structural flaws.  Public Works Department had carried out a structural investigation of the building and filed a report with recommendations that the building be vacated with immediate effect to avert potential disaster.

The Judiciary headquarters together with the station's leadership, among other stakeholders, must be commended for that proactive move. The ACJ statement said the county government had provided space for criminal pleas and other urgent matters. Other mitigation measures include engaging both the national and county governments to secure alternative facilities to house court operations.

Although the statement acknowledged the Judiciary’s significant improvement on infrastructure over the last decade, it also noted that many courts remain in a deplorable state. It further requested for funds to commence construction of Kericho law courts and others in similar state. Since Kericho law courts is the only one in the county, the government should not only consider approving the requested amount, but also fast-track release of the money to minimise disruption of services.

If this is not done and spaces for holding proceedings are inadequate, then the nearest places Kericho residents can seek justice will be Awasi in Kisumu County, Sotik in Bomet County, Nyamira or Nakuru counties. This ignores the economic impact the move would have on court users. Some of them are old men and women in succession cases and need not endure long distances in search of justice.

When Parliament meets to approve the 2021/2022 budget, it should consider granting the request bearing in mind that last year many Judiciary projects stalled due to budget deficit. This will enable the Judiciary complete stalled projects and establish new magistrate court stations at constituency levels.

The writer is Samson Nyasimi of Kericho

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