Chief Justice David Maraga has called for more funding for the Judiciary to enable it to take services to the grassroots. Speaking in Vihiga County where he opened a Kshs 78.4 million Court complex funded by the World Bank, CJ Maraga stressed the relentless efforts by the Judiciary to enable all Kenyans to access justice with ease, terming it as a key element in the institutional transformation.
The Chief Justice said that one way this can be achieved is by the construction of more Courts at the grassroots. He said that if achieved, it will help the public to access justice at a low cost as it will save on time and resources. However, he explained that in most cases the initiative is hampered by insufficient resources.
CJ Maraga revealed that the inaugurated Vihiga Court building is among three others (Kigumo, Nyando and Makindu) opened within the last one year. He said that 56 more other facilities in various parts of the country are still under construction. Nyamira, Molo, Oyugis, Engineer, Chuka and Muhoroni are set to be inaugurated before the end of the year.
31 of the ongoing projects are funded by the government of Kenya whereas 25 are supported by the World Bank through the Judicial Performance Improvement Project (JPIP). Despite the fact that Government funded projects had experienced delays in the past year, Maraga hailed the Treasury for disbursement of the funds which he said will go a long way in ensuring that the targeted projects are completed within the stipulated period.
He urged contractors who are engaged in the JPIP funded projects to expedite their operations in an effort to ensure that their works are completed within the strict timelines of the funding programme, which has been extended to October 2020. However, he warned that the Judiciary will not hesitate to terminate agreements of those contractors who will not complete projects on time.
Moreover, the CJ granted Vihiga Law Court a sub-registry of the High Court which will be having sessions one week in a month. He said this will act as a short term solution to save Vihiga residents from travelling long distances to Kisumu or Kakamega to attend High Court proceedings.
The move followed calls by legislators from the region who called for the formation of a High Court in Vihiga. “I have keenly received calls from your leaders who want the Judiciary to form a High Court here, for now, it may not be possible since we have a shortage of judges. However, in the near future, it may be possible since interviews for new judges are ongoing. Meanwhile, I can grant you sub-registry of the High Court,” said Maraga.
Accompanying the Chief Justice were Judicial Service Commission members, Justice David Majanja, Judges attached to Kakamega High Court, Vihiga Deputy Governor Dr. Patrick Saisi, legislators Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Charles Gemose (Hamisi), Alfred Agoi (Sabatia) and Ernest Ogesi (Vihiga).