Crisis in the Judiciary following Ksh.2.9 billion budget cut

Crisis in the Judiciary following Ksh.2.9 billion budget cut
File image of Chief Justice David Maraga. PHOTO| COURTESY

A major crisis is set to hit the Judiciary following the Ksh.2.9 billion budget cut by the National Treasury.

Several courts sitting have now been suspended and a number of courts such as the Court of Appeal in Nyeri have been closed indefinitely in what legal experts have warned could worsen the already overwhelming backlog of cases.

The Chief Justice raised the red flag immediately the Treasury announced the budget cut, warning that it would comprise the work of the courts.

And now, his fears appear to be coming true barely one week later.

In an internal memo addressing judiciary staff, from the Chief Registrar Anne Amadi, there is no doubt that trouble is brewing in Kenya’s third arm of government.

The belt-tightening measures include, the suspension of all mobile court sessions and service weeks planned for the period of October to December 2019, the suspension of all retreats and workshops outside the work station unless there is donor funding or for statutory requirements, and unless for highly specialised course.

All sponsored courses are to be conducted in the country after approval by the training committee and within the available budget.

The budget cut saw a drastic reduction of Ksh.1.49 billion from the recurrent expenditure and Ksh.1.4 billion from the development expenditure.

The Law Society of Kenya, through its president Allen Gichuhi, has now sued the National Treasury complaining that the move not only interferes with the independence of the judiciary but also the right of the public to access services rendered by the judiciary.

Already the judiciary is reeling from a perennial shortage of judges with a 14-judge deficit in the court of appeal following the elevation of Chief Justice Maraga and his deputy Philomena Mwilu to the Supreme Court.

The Judicial Service Commission is at loggerheads with the president after he stalled the commission’s list of 11 nominees citing unexplained integrity issues.

The names are yet to be published in the Kenya gazette.

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