Chief Justice Martha Koome after receiving instruments of power from Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu during her assumption of office ceremony held at CJ’s Gardens, Supreme Court. May 24, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome has said she will work with the other arms of government during her tenure to serve to Kenyans.

Addressing attendants during the handover of instruments of power at the Supreme Court on Monday, May 24, the CJ said the three arms of government should work in hand since they are part of a chain-link to justice.

“We are going to work with them [the Executive], this country belongs to all of us and everybody is holding a part of the chain link,” she said.

On his part Attorney General Kihara Kairuki said that the government will work with CJ Koome’s administration ‘on all things lawful’.

“The government is committed to working with you, to supporting you and the Judiciary,” he said.

The pledge of support by the Attorney General comes after a similar pledge was made by the President during CJ Koome’s swearing-in at State House on Friday, May 21.

“We want to partner with you, we want to work with you and we pray for your success,” President Uhuru Kenyatta during the event.

In her maiden speech after she was sworn into office, CJ Koome urged the Executive to give Judiciary the necessary support for court orders to be obeyed and implemented.

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She asked President Kenyatta to accord Judiciary support to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of cases are undertaken efficiently.

The CJ said she is looking forward to working with Parliament to develop mechanisms that will facilitate greater efficiencies along the justice chain and especially between the arms of government.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka speaking on behalf of Parliament said that the two houses will support the CJ and the Judiciary.

“As parliament, we are great beneficiaries of Judiciary and I want to pledge that we will continue working together,” he said.

Lusaka said both the National Assembly and the Senate will and continue to support the Judiciary’s independence saying they will remain firm in that cause.

“An independent Judiciary guarantees democracy,” he said.

Interim chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Professor Olive Mugenda said the CJ needs to engage the executive to address the failure to swear in 40 Judges that the commission forwarded to the President in 2019.

“It is nearly two years since these nominations were made and it is extremely regrettable that one of the nominees lost his life before he got his chance to serve the people of Kenya,” she said.

Professor Mugenda said the CJ should explore all avenues to bring the recruitment to its conclusion since the President had made a promise to support her.

She said the swearing-in of the Judges needs to be addressed quickly to solve the shortage of Judges at the Employment and Labor Relations Court, Environment and Land Court, and at the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has only 13 Judges left following the appointment of Justice William Ouko Okello as a Supreme Court Judge and Justice Martha Koome as Chief Justice.

Professor Mugenda also urged the CJ to engage Parliament to ensure their budgetary allocation is increased significantly.

“Most of the challenges we face today are due to the limited funding the Judiciary and JSC receive from Parliament,” she said.

In his speech retired Chief Justice David Maraga said that every stakeholder should accord the new CJ all the help she needs to achieve success during her tenure.

“Keep reminding all of us that Constitutional power is constrained power so that everybody keeps to their lane,” he said.

 

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