woes of the Kenyan Judiciary

Yesterday, we were treated to a complaining fest by the Kenyan Judicial Service Commission on budget cuts that would adversely affect their functions. While this is regrettable and will affect the administration of justice and other programs of the judiciary, it is important to face up to the genesis of these problems.

For those who are behind news, the Kenyan Constitution 2010, envisages an independent and robust judiciary. Among other provisions, it has a chapter on integrity for state officers.ย  In 2013 or shortly before the general elections, as I wrote in this piece, the courts failed Kenyans when they allowed suspects facing grave crimes to vie for presidency.ย  I noted then and it has come to pass that a criminal cannot be expected to act morally, especially, when this criminal has control of the state machinery. Well, Kenyans voted and the supreme court legitimized their win. Now we are here.

After this initial mistake, the judiciary had several opportunities last year to correct this anomaly. They failed spectacularly and I will give instances of these failures.

  1. After the high court found that returning officers for the october 26th election had been irregularly appointed, some judges, and we have no evidence that they sat, put a stay on this ruling and thus allowing the election to go on
  2. the supreme court failed to sit to determine a case that challenged the election
  3. in determining the outcome of the second election, they pussyfooted on issues such as validity of presidential nominees and so on
  4. most importantly, after declaring the first election null, they failed to indict individuals at IEBC JEBC allowing the same crooks who had messed the election had the same opportunity to do it a second a time
  5. and finally, a failure of the CJ himself to respond to this petition and many others cannot be blamed on anyone else but a failure of leadership on the part of the CJ.

What we are seeing now are manifestations of systematic failures, over time, by the judiciary to uphold the law and carry out their constitutional mandates. We are at that point where we will all die like fools or learn to stand up for what is right while taking every precaution to not increase vulnerability of the already vulnerable.


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