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February 23, 2019

Slashing the Judiciary budget reeks of malice

The judiciary. photo/Monicah Mwangi
The judiciary. photo/Monicah Mwangi

The Judicial Service Commission yesterday raised the alarm over an impending crisis after the Treasury allocated only Sh17.3 billion — slightly over half of the Sh31 billion it had requested — for recurrent and development expenditure.

Chief Justice David Maraga said the reduced funding means a number of projects will suffer. Fifty mobile courts will be suspended; clearing the backlog of cases will be deferred and installation of ICT and ongoing modernisation of the court system, including construction of new courthouses, will be suspended.

Courts are an equal and independent branch of government with a clear constitutional mandate whose efficiency is essential to a functioning State. The drastic funding reduction, therefore, undermines the equilibrium of the three arms of government. The Constitution anticipated the inherent rivalry in the separation of powers, hence, the requirement for public participation and transparency in resource allocation. In view of the recent adversarial relations between the Judiciary on one hand, and the Executive and Legislature on the other, one is tempted to think the Judiciary is being starved of resources as punishment.

Unfortunately, the victim here is not the Judiciary staff but the innocent litigant who is the consumer of its services. Suffocating the Judiciary in the face of well-documented justification reeks of malice.

Quote of the Day: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Franklin D Roosevelt

The 32nd US President banned selling benzine/gasoline to Japan on July 25, 1941.

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