Chief Justice David Maraga has decried the growing flood of unwarranted criticism being levelled against the Judiciary.
Speaking at the Nyando Law Courts where he presided over the opening of a new court building, the Chief Justice said the attacks were unfair and undeserved. Even where compliments were due, individual officers and the Judiciary in general were being vilified with excessive criticism, he said.
He gave the example of a headline in a newspaper today that talked about “rot in the Judiciary” in reference to the Organizational Review Report launched by the Judiciary last week, which recommended a raft of changes in its structures, including how courts are organized.
“Instead of praising us for restructuring ourselves to serve wananchi better, they are attacking us. We have only reviewed our structures to facilitate greater efficiency in the delivery of services to the people,” he said.
The Chief Justice reaffirmed his commitment to the fight against corruption, but said he will stand by Judicial officers who are unfairly attacked.
“If they are caught doing anything wrong, they must be punished. But I will defend them to the hilt if they are just being vilified by people who they have made rulings against,” said Justice Maraga. He added that social media has been particularly hostile to him, some even referring to him as “the high priest of corruption”.
“If by doing the right thing this is what I become, so be it,” he said.
Other speakers at the function, including local Members of Parliament, criticized the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Inspector General of Police for their recent attacks on the Judiciary.
Nyakach MP Aduma Owuor said the DPP should argue his cases before court and leave Judicial officers to make determinations and not always expect rulings in his favour.
The Nyando building is the second Court building launched this year. Early this month, the Chief Justice opened the new buildings in Kigumo in Murang’a county.
The CJ said the ongoing constructions signified “our continued determination to facilitate easy access to justice for all Kenyans as one of the key deliverables in our efforts to transform the Judiciary.”
The court has been built at a cost of Sh74.8 million. It consists of three court rooms, three chambers, new cells which have separate holding facilities for men, women and juveniles complete with toilets, client consultation rooms, a lounge for advocates and judicial officers, children’s room and public toilets.
The project has been funded by the Judicial Performance Improvement Project of the World Bank.
Justice Maraga said he hoped the new facility will result in greater efficiency in the delivery of services.