By Jacktone S. Ambuka
Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga came into office breathing fire of reforms. After all, he spent most of his life in the trenches of reforms fighting for equality and justice for all. Unfortunately, his vision is getting blurry. The fire seems to be fading one flare at a time. Otherwise how do you explain the fact that our judiciary under his presidency has prioritized purchasing of airplane for judges?
The airplane will â€œbe used to fly judges, their assistants and Judiciary staff to areas that are hard to reach by road. It would also be used to fly the Judiciaryâ€™s top brass whenever theyâ€™re needed to assess the performance of their juniors.â€ It is called misplaced priorities. Our judiciary should straighten its priorities.
Firstly, judiciary should hire more judges to serve remote areas. Initiate electronic documentation of records to avoid mysterious â€œdisappearancesâ€ of files that belong to the accused persons and firms, all in the name of cutting corners in the corridors of judiciary. Our judiciary should ensure each county has at least three residential judges and three district prosecutors to cut down time spent waiting for directions from Nairobi.
Secondly, our judiciary should ensure there are public attorneys to defend citizens who canâ€™t afford a lawyer as is provided for in the constitution. Moreover, our judiciary should prioritize curbing corruption in the corridors of judiciary and investigate and end suspicious relationships between judges and advocates which more often than not influence court verdicts.
Thirdly, our judiciary should expedite hearing of cases for the accused persons. Justice delayed is justice denied. Additionally, our judiciary should endeavor to serve equal justice in equal measures to the poor and the rich, men and women, politicians and pastors. Educate citizens on their rights before the court of law. Liaise with police to enable professional investigation that can produce water tight cases.
Purchasing airplane in these tough economic times is a slap in the face of millions of Kenyans who canâ€™t access fair justice, sleep on empty stomachs, and are jobless. It casts our judiciary as a rich institution that cares less about justice but more about extravagant spending. Airplane for judiciary is a wrong idea and should be discarded. It is wasteful spending of tax-payerâ€™s money.