Inadequate funding at the Judiciary is to blame for delayed justice dispensation in Kenya, Court of Appeal president William Ouko says.
Justice Ouko made the remarks during his interview for Supreme Court Judge position on Wednesday, May 5.
The judge said the Judiciary should be among the recipients of adequate budgetary allocation in each financial year.
Of the three arms of Government – Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary – the Courts received the lowest allocation in the 2021/2022 budget proposal tabled in Parliament by the National Treasury.
According to Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani’s estimates for the coming financial year, the Executive would receive Sh1.31 trillion of the Sh3.02 trillion budget, while the Legislature, through the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), would get Sh37.88 billion. The Judiciary, on the other hand, would receive Sh17.92 billion.
It is these figures that Ouko seeks to have reviewed for effective delivery of justice in the courts.
“If the executive gets [slightly over] Sh1 trillion in budgetary allocation, Parliament receives [about] Sh37 billion and the Judiciary is only given [just over] Sh17 billion, then we cannot walk [the transformation journey] at the same pace,” he said.
According to the judge, for the longest time, the Judiciary has received the lowest amount of money when it comes to financing the three arms of government.
Ouko suggested the increased allocation would help employ more judges, and, therefore, help in expediting cases that have stuck at the Judiciary for tens of years.
“The Court of Appeal and other courts cannot function to the optimum because of fewer judges,” he said.
The appellate court president, who boasts of 34 years of legal experience, said should he be successful in the Supreme Court judge interview, he would lobby for cases to be heard in shorter durations at the apex court.
According to Ouko, the 90-day window that the Supreme Court has to deliver judgements is “just too long”.
Ten of 41 judges who are yet to be sworn in by President Uhuru Kenyatta, came from Ouko’s appellate court section. The judge has been at the forefront, pushing for the new judges to be sworn in.
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