Judiciary Personnel Receive Insignia for State Awards
Seven of the Judicial officers and staff who were awarded various state honors during the 2020 Jamhuri Day celebrations received their insignia from the Deputy Chief Registrar, Hon. Paul Maina, at a brief ceremony held at the Supreme Court Building on 31st March 2021.
The seven who were handed their awards are: Senior Principal Magistrate Hon. Joseph Were who was admitted as a Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS), Chief Magistrate Hon. Francis Weche Andayi, Mr. James Muriithi Kihara, and Benjamin James Kinuthia who were admitted to the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya (OGW), and Mrs Irene Moraa Omari, Mr. Stephen Kariuki Kanegeni, and Ms Harriet GacerI who were awarded a Head of State Commendation (HSC).
Hon. Joseph Were, SPM, MBS joined the Judiciary in 2004 as a Resident Magistrate rising to the present position of Senior Principal Magistrate, and is currently serving in the Office of the Chief Registrar since 2015. He was honored for excelling, among others, as the founding chair of the Micro & Small Enterprises Tribunal when all the cases files between July 2019 and June 2020 were heard and concluded. He also led the tribunal in the formulation of the Draft Regulations. He has worked with the EACC to ensure the recovery of the Judiciary land that had been grabbed where the current Court of Appeal in Kisumu sits and the dismissal of matters filed against Kigumo and Kericho Law Courts, thus saving the Judiciary and the public hundreds of millions of shillings.
Hon. Were has also facilitated through his membership in the Performance Management and Measurement Understanding committee the roll out and the entrenchment of Performance Contracting in the Judiciary since 2015, monitoring if the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2014-2018 preparation of the corporate Strategic Plan 2019-2023 and preparation of the State of the Judiciary on the Administration of Justice (SOJAR) since 2015 to date.
Hon. Were was instrumental in facilitating together with the Office of the President, the Chief Justice and the Chief Registrar the inauguration of the President in November, 2017. Hon. Were has served as the Judiciary representative in the Review of the Mandatory Death Sentence, Legal Sector Reforms and the Anti-Corruption Task Forces between 2015 and 2019.
Hon. Francis Andayi, OGW who is currently serving as the Chief Magistrate at the Milimani Criminal Court was recognized for contributing immensely to the development of jurisprudence through his determinations and for leading the courts he has headed with courage and firmness. He was also recognized as a mentor for new magistrates and an accomplished trainer for the Judiciary in its various programs. Hon. Andayi has been feted by the Nairobi Branch of the LSK as an outstanding Judicial Officer. He has also been instrumental in overseeing and facilitated the piloting and operationalization of the CTS in the Judiciary, construction of Mariakani law courts, streamlining of court revenue collection in Kerugoya and Milimani law courts, among other achievements.
Mr. James Muriithi Kihara, OWG is currently a private practitioner who also serves as a special prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, responsible for select corruption cases. He is the immediate former chair of the Public Private Partnership Petition Committee (Tribunal) a position he relinquished early this year. He is the former chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb (k)), vice chair of the Micro Enterprise Support Program Trust (MESPT), Corporation Secretary at both Utalii College and Agricultural Development Authority (ADC). He has excelled in the recent past for his contrib ution is training mediators for the courts and undertaking mediation under the court program. In addition, he is an accomplished Arbitrator and currently serves on the Board of the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA). He is also a lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
Mrs. Irene Moraa Omari who is based at NCAJ was recognized with a Head of State Commendation for successfully coordinating all the committees that have been established under the NCAJ, including fundraising for their activities, coordinating the funding and reporting for Court User Committees at the court stations and for serving as the point person for the agencies that report under the NCAJ in collating and preparing reports for inclusion in the State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report, where she has served as secretary and overseen the preparation of the last 5 editions of the statutory report.
Mr. Benjamin James Kinuthia, a Senior Records Management Officer and Personal Assistant to the President of the Court of Appeal, was admitted to the Order of Grand Warrior (OWG) in recognition of his instrumental contributions to the setting up the Information Technology unit in the Judiciary in 1997 by offering technical and software support to the nascent unit. He was also a core member of the committee that conceptualised and prepared the first Judiciary Strategic Plan of 2005-2008. He also participated in the first Judiciary Service Week for the High Court in 2015 that saw the disposal of over 15000 cases that had been long standing in the Civil Division. Mr. Kinuthia was a member of the team that developed the first High Court Registry Manual in 2013 that led to systemic efficiencies in Court registry operations. His experience was again called upon in the development of the Registry Manual for the Employment and Labour Relations Court which were launched in 2019. Subsequently, he has been at the core of the Automation process not just for the High Court but the Judiciary as a whole. He also worked with Mr. Patrick Ngobiro in coming up with the e-diary system which has automated the fixing of dates and generation of the cause list at the High Court.
Mr. Stephen Kariuki Kanegeni, HSC has served in the Judiciary for over 28 years rising from a Court Clerk to his present position of Court Administrator. He is credited for facilitating the recovery of the land where the African Court erected in Mukurwe-ini from private developers. The parcel has since been reclaimed by the government and facilitated the ongoing erection of the new Mukurwe-ini Law Courts. On the recovered parcel also sits the Deputy County Commissioners Office at Mukurwe-ini. Mr. Kanegeni is also credited with helping to establish and streamline the court registries at the Court of Appeal in Nairobi and Nyeri, High Court at Meru, the Environment and Land Court at Muranga, the court registries at Mukurwe-ini and Embu. Mr. Kanegeni has also contributed to the development of the Court Administrators Handbook, preparation of the case audit report of the Court of Appeal registry at Nyeri and sub registries at Embu and Meru.
Ms. Harriet Gacheri, HSC has served the Judiciary from the year 2001 when she joined as a Short Hand Typist rising to a Senior Office Administrator at the Court of Appeal where she continues to serve. During the course of service in the Judiciary she has exemplified great dedication to duty, is efficient and exhibited meticulous attention to detail. Due to her great work ethic she was identified to serve in a tribunal investigating the conduct of a Puisne judge and at the end of the assignment received commendation from the chairperson of the Tribunal for a job well done. She was part of the team that developed the Court of Appeal Service Charter. During the period after the scaled down operations of the Court due to the covid-19 pandemic, she has exhibited great industry and has served the Judges of the Court of Appeal with exceptional dedication in supporting administrative processes related to case hearings, processing of proceedings and orders of the court and judgment/ rulings delivery earning accolades from the judges.