Judiciary urges dialogue in resolving County govt disputes
01 December 2014, 10:47
Nairobi – The Judiciary has hit back at Senate which has been condemning it for undermining its constitutional responsibility in attempting to resolve counties’ leadership challenges.
The Senate has been condemning the Judiciary for issuing rulings barring governors to appear before it for accountability and reinstating impeached County bosses after the Senate’s approval of their impeachment.
Chief Justice (CJ) Willy Mutunga has said Judiciary supports devolution of power and resources as a constitutional duty to give voice and meaning to the principles outlined in Article 10 but not as an act of political posturing.
“Though devolution is a broad concept in Kenya, the County governments are its most visible emblem and representation and we welcome their representatives to dialogue,” said Mutunga.
He stated that the Constitution commands his institution to do justice to all without delay and regardless of social status.
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Mutunga insisted that access to justice is a right for all people, and hence the main reason why the Judicial Service Act requires the establishment of a High Court in every County and a magistrate’s court in every district.
“We in the Judiciary promote dialogue with all stakeholders not with the intention of breaking any law, but rather with the purpose of entrenching the Constitution and realizing its benefits for Kenyans in the shortest time possible,” said Mutunga.
To demonstrate the Judiciary’s commitment to constructive engagements the County governments, the CJ revealed that his institution jointly trained legal officers and County attorneys for the Council of Governors (CoG) on devolution a month ago.
However, Mutunga raised concern over minimal budgetary allocation to the Judiciary saying it does not march the ever-growing demand for judicial services.
“We are grateful that most counties have made generous offers of land and the construction of infrastructure to enable the Judiciary to meet its constitutional and legal obligations to ensure access to justice,” the CJ said.
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He advised legal officers in County courts experiencing the shortcomings of low budgetary allocations to speak up for the National Assembly and the Senate to make appropriate adjustments in the next budget allocation.
Regarding the proposal by some counties to share fines and penalties collected by courts within their boundaries, Mutunga held that intensive consultation is required with key legal players and legislation as the current law rewuires that all revenues collected by the Judiciary be send to the Consolidated Fund.
Speaking during a consultative forum, the CJ assured that the Judiciary will strongly partner with the CoG for efficiency and effectiveness for residents seeking judicial services.
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