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President William Ruto appoints 6 judges rejected by Uhuru Kenyatta

Chief Justice Martha Koome (left) hands over a certificate of inauguration to President William Ruto during his inauguration at Kasarani. [George Njunge, Standard]

President William Ruto has appointed six judges who were rejected by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.

Dr Ruto, in his maiden speech as the Head of State yesterday, promised to end a three-year impulse between the Judiciary and the Executive.

Immediately after his inauguration, the President signed two gazette notices appointing Weldon Korir, Aggrey Muchelule, George Odunga and Prof Joel Ngugi to the Court of Appeal.

He also named High Court registrar Elizabeth Omange and chief magistrate Evans Makori as Environment and Lands Court judges.

 

The two were on the list that retired President Uhuru Kenyatta declined to appoint as judges.

“To further demonstrate my commitment to the Judiciary, this afternoon I will appoint the six judges already nominated to the court of appeal, which was done three years ago by the Judicial Service Commission, and tomorrow I shall preside their swearing-in so that they can get on with their business of serving the people of Kenya,” said the President in his speech at the Kasarani Stadium.

Mr Kenyatta had stated that he turned down their nominations “for failing to meet the required threshold”.

Despite several court orders, a case to have him impeached and another to bypass him and have Chief Justice Martha Koome swear the six, the former President maintained that he would not be coerced to make the appointments.

In his bag of goodies for the third arm of government, Dr Ruto promised to increase funding for the Judiciary to at least Sh90 billion in the next five years.

After years of fighting to have 25 per cent of the Sh3.3 trillion budget, the Judiciary, by July 1, was to get at least Sh75 billion.

Chief Justice Martha Koome’s predecessor, David Maraga, had been battling to get at least Sh75 billion, which is 25 per cent of the budget.

He even proposed that the funding be gradual.

President William Ruto with Chief Justice Martha Koome (left) and Registrar Anne Amadi. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

“Even though the Judiciary is an arm of government, it is not demanding much. Out of a budget of about Sh3 trillion, give us just 2.5 per cent and we will dispose of cases within two years of their filing. Give us a development vote of about Sh5 billion a year and we will construct courts all over the country in 10 years,” said the former CJ.

But Justice Maraga got Sh47 billion for the three years he served. To construct the courts in 47 counties, he got Sh50 million.

It is CJ Koome who struck a deal with the former President when she was sworn in and the fund was operationalised by Treasury on July 1.

Yesterday, Dr Ruto said that his administration would increase the Judiciary funding by Sh3 billion each year, which amounts to Sh15 billion at the end of his five-year tenure.

According to the President, the resources will be used to increase the number of small claims courts, magistrates courts, and High Courts.  There are at least 25 small claims courts, 34 High Courts and 123 magistrate courts.

“These resources will support the bottom-up scaling of justice by increasing the number of small claims courts from the current 25 to 100. We will also work with the judiciary to build High Courts in the remaining seven counties and magistrates courts in the remaining 123 sub-counties and support their ongoing digitization.”

He stated that this will enable the Judiciary to deliver justice.