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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI 27TH NOV, 2020-Chief Justice David Maraga has asked Kenyans to reject any proposed constitutional amendments through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that may threaten the independence of the Judiciary.
He was speaking on Friday at the Supreme Court during the release of the State of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice Annual Report 2019/2020.
According to the Chief Justice, any changes which preach the separation of powers or threatens the independence of the judiciary should be rejected forthwith.
The Chief Justice appeared to be referring to the appointment of a Judiciary ombudsman whom the BBI report had suggested, be appointed by the president.
He argued that such a proposition would take the country back to a period before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution when the Judiciary was an appendage of the executive.
“We are going back to the period when the Judiciary was an appendage of the executive which Kenyans fought very hard to remove in passing the 2010 constitution,” he explained.
During the address, CJ Maraga who is in his final two weeks in office said that although he has not achieved everything he set out to do, he will retire a happy man.
He however picked an issue with President Kenyatta- again- insisting that the president has interfered with the independence of the Judiciary by failing to appoint the 40 judges forwarded by the Judicial Service Commission.
While urging the President to make the appointments without any further delay, CJ Maraga said the President appeared to have ‘revisited’ the Judiciary following the 2018 Presidential Election annulment by the Supreme Court.
“It is on the record that the president promised to revisit, and we saw it in reduction of judiciary budget and that’s why the courts countrywide are yet to be completed,” he said.
“Irregular budget cuts disrupt judicial processes, there was a year when the ICT budget was wholly slashed or their budget not factored in, it is a miracle that we have continued to execute our mandate,”
According to the Chief Justice, the Judiciary needs a yearly budget of between Ksh.5 to Ksh.10B to effectively operate and handle the over 400,000 that Kenyans file yearly.