Magistrate memorialised amid calls for Judiciary funding boost

Candles lit next to a photo of the late Makadara Principal Magistrate Monica Njoki Kivuti at Milimani Law Courts on June 18, 2024. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Calls for an increase in Judiciary funding and enhancement of security in courts dominated a prayer service in remembrance of Makadara Principal Magistrate Monica Njoki Kivuti who succumbed to gunshot wounds.

The prayer service dubbed ‘Judiciary National Day of Mourning’ was held yesterday outside Nairobi’s Milimani Law Courts and other Court stations in the country including Nakuru, Mombasa and Eldoret

Led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the Milimani event included judges, magistrates, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) representatives as well as officials from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In a speech read on her behalf by Principal Judge Eric Ogola, Chief Justice Martha Koome said the shooting of Kivuti at her workstation was unprecedented and amounts to an attack on judicial independence and the rule of law.

She said the judiciary will work on boosting security across all court stations using available resources.

“The judiciary leadership will engage the executive and parliament to secure additional resources to support the implementation of past recommendations regarding judiciary security, a matter that has been discussed with the concerned agencies for many years,” said Koome.

She described the late Kivuti as a person who genuinely believed that a more just and humane world was achievable and that her work even in the face of calamitous setbacks, remained vitally important.

Musyoka said more funds should be allocated to the judiciary while urging judicial officers to be intelligent and use the same to know the type of people they are dealing with.

“Through consuming intelligence, magistrates and judges will know the kind of people they expect to attend their courts on a day they are scheduled to deliver important rulings or judgements,” said Musyoka. 

And in Nakuru, Court of Appeal Judge Fred Ochieng said the security of judicial officers and all court users should be paramount.

He added that Kenyans must also be mentally health by undergoing counselling. “Police officers and judicial officers must acknowledge that we need help when it comes to our mental health,” said Ochieng.

Presiding Judge Hedwig Ong’udi took note that Nakuru was not secured as only three courts met the required standards.

Ong’udi said she saw the need to protect lawyers, judges, magistrates and judicial staff by ensuring they use one gate while other court users use the main gate.

“The matter of security is sensitive and we do not take it lightly. We do not want to live in fear and regrets in matters of security,” she said.

[Collins Kweyu, Daniel Chege and Lilian Chepkoech]