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Prof. Mazrui was an advocate for justice, says CJ

14 October 2014, 14:00 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – Chief Justice(CJ), Willy Mutunga has sent a message of condolence to the family and friends of the late Professor Ali Mazrui, who died on Monday in the US.

The CJ termed Prof. Mazrui as a contributor to the cause of justice, rule of law and good governance in Africa and the entire world.

He said Mazrui immensely contributed to the transformation of the Judiciary by delivering insight lectures to judges and other judicial officers on the interplay between law and politics based on historical and regional context.

“Only one year ago, Prof. Mazrui, quite infirm but still the public intellectual he was, agreed to be a guest of the Kenya Judiciary. Prof. Mazrui revisited the intellectual debates that used to take place in East African universities on key governance and public policy issues between academics, and academy needs revival.

“He is definitely a prominent member of that pantheon of the world’s best thinkers, and this region should be proud that it produced such a great mind that was listed as one of the top 100 most influential thinkers in the globe,” he added.

The CJ cited from Mazrui’s literary work saying principled discourses and disagreement on public interest issues plays an important role in fostering accountability and enriching thought.

 “It is only when ideas contend that knowledge thrives and society grows. ‘Development’ is a child of ideas, not thoughtlessness,” said Mutunga.

However, Mutunga reiterated that the East African Judiciaries are faced with the challenge of inadequate finances for their effective operations noting that governments allocate them minimal funds in their budgets.

Also read: Professor Ali Mazrui dies aged 81

“Even though Kenya has increased its support to the Judiciary, all Judiciaries in the region have a history of financial neglect that undermines their capacity to deliver justice quickly,” said Mutunga.  

He cited from the 2012/2013 Performance Directorate report which reveals that Kenyans filed about 54 000 cases in the High Court yet Judiciary has 90 High Court judges who are a few to resolve the cases in shortest time possible.

“On average, each judge has 600 cases from one year alone. Even if all the 90 judges were sitting throughout the year without weekends and holidays, they would take about three years to conclude one year’s matters! This is not sustainable,” said the CJ.

Mutunga asserted that the country has slightly more than 700 judicial officers from Resident Magistrate courts to Chief Justice Office serving nation’s 40 million populations.

He thus said despite the Judiciary asking for more judges, there is also need to look for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

“I am glad that this Conference will re-examine this global dilemma and we look forward to receiving outcomes that feed initiatives we have commenced on Bond, Bail, and sentencing policy,” said Mutunga.

He was speaking in a jurists conference attended by over 300 judicial officers form the East African Magistrates and Judges Association (EAMJA) and the larger Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association.

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