“The judiciary has been treated contemptuously and continues to be treated contemptuously”,This were the words of the supreme court president chief justice Maraga two weeks ago after the president instituted budget cuts in the judiciary.
The budget cuts come after President Uhuru Kenyatta called the judiciary a bunch of crooks and promised to “fix” them after the Supreme Court nullified his election in 2017, citing unconstitutional illegalities and irregularities. Kenyatta later won a rerun of the elections after the opposition boycotted saying the composition of the electoral commission, which they accused of rigging, had not changed.
“We have a huge backlog of cases which continue to pile up because of lack of funds to even move judges around,” Maraga said.
President Kenyatta last month refused to appoint 41 judges picked by the judicial service commission. Several experts have opined in local media that this hampered the judiciary from clearing the backlog of cases
Maraga now says the Court of Appeal is not able to operate due to lack of funds and the discoid treatment from the national government executive office.He accuses Kenyatta’s government for promoting impunity by not paying hundreds of millions in damages awarded to plaintiffs.
There has been a heated debate about the move to cut the judiciary funds with Kenyans on twitter lamenting of how looting has excessively rendered critical process and development lame.
City based lawyer and hight court advocate Karen Nyamu,advises that the judiciary has been starved of funds and precise consideration needs to be effectively done.
“In order to have a strong justice system ,the judiciary has to be accorded enough support, pressure only makes it system bias. We need not to go to the old reforms and expiriences”. She says
The judiciary was allocated 18.9bn shillings ($183m) for the fiscal year starting in July, well below the judiciary’s request for 33.3bn ($322m).
Circuit courts of appeal in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, and Nyeri have been suspended and 53 mobile courts working in remote areas have also stopped working owing to lack of money for vehicles and fuel.