Chief Justice David Maraga has urged Kenyans to reject any proposal in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that compromises the independence of the Judiciary.
Maraga 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.
The CJ noted that any changes which seek separation of powers or threaten the independence of the judiciary should be rejected.
Maraga seemed to be referring to the proposed appointment of the Judiciary ombudsman by the President according to the BBI.
The CJ argued that such a proposition would make the country a step back 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.
At the same time, Maraga took an issue with the President, stating that President Kenyatta has interfered with the independence of the Judiciary by failing to appoint the 40 judges forwarded to him by the Judicial Service Commission.
Maraga noted that the President appeared to have ‘revisited’ the Judiciary following the 2018 Presidential Election annulment by the Supreme Court by delaying to appoint the judges.
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“It is on the record that the president promised to revisit, and we saw it in the 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.”
Maraga said the Judiciary required an annual budget of between Ksh.5 to Ksh.10 billion to effectively operate and handles the over 400,000 that Kenyans file yearly.