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CJ: We shall not be cowed by Parliament

03 March 2014, 15:30 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Chief Justice, Willy Mutunga has faulted the Parliament’s decision to reduce the Judiciary’s funding by KES 500 million noting that the move frustrates not only the Judicial officers but also individual court users.

Mutunga asserted that the Judiciary will continue to exercise its constitutional powers without let or hindrance by scaling its operations down or up according to the resources allocated to it.

“The Constitution gives the Members of Parliament the power to determine how much funding is allocated to the Judiciary. However, as the Commission on Constitutional Implementation has reminded them, that is a power it has been called upon to exercise with responsibility and prudence - always aware that allocations to the Judiciary are not for the comfort of judges and magistrates but to fund access to justice for the mwananchi,” said Mutunga.

He added that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) is committed and will continue to ensure that the Judiciary’s independence and upholding of the rule of law without fear or bias as guided by the Constitution remains. He said the Judiciary has no interest in any litigation except the cause and ends of justice.

“If anyone thinks that the Judiciary will cower in fear because of insults and threats, I am afraid they are very mistaken. If anyone thinks that we shall suddenly change our well established rules of procedure on how matters are received, managed and disposed of, then they will wait a very long time. Our legal system operates on well known procedures and customs and we are not about to bend them to accommodate short term interests,” warned Mutunga.

Mutunga also noted that financial independence of the Judiciary is a constitutional principle hence other government organs should consider and approve budgets to appreciate the fact that the allocated money is meant for serving the public.

He stated that the Judiciary has widespread stations all over the nation with nearly 5 000 employees and operating on an annual budget allocation of KES 16 billion contrary to the Parliament's allocation of KES 20 billion for less the 2 000 employees including MPs.

“Yet, even as Parliament has the final word on how much access to justice to fund for the common mwananchi, on this we stand: no number of threats or amount of intimidation will deter the Judiciary from doing justice using the same plumb line of the Constitution, the law and the evidence in the quickest time possible,” assured Mutunga.

He maintained that if the Parliament won't provide enough funding to the Judiciary, then some courts will be closed and thus forcing citizens to seek their right by staging demos to the National Assembly.

Moreover, he assured the public that the Judiciary will independently discharge its duties without relenting to threats as envisaged in the Constitution.

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