When she took office last month, the new Chief Justice Martha Koome stated that she recognized and understood the need to address the case backlog within the courts. While receiving her instruments of power, she affirmed that she was well aware of the challenges that the common Mwananchi experienced in accessing justice.
She gave examples of Kenyans who travel long distances to access the services. This is especially in the areas where the judiciary is yet to establish courts or other centers of justice. For others they have to sell their prized belongings like cattle or land to finance their cases. These situations she said, demanded that cases do not take too long in court as justice delayed has the same impact as justice denied. She therefore, promised to develop mechanisms to ensure that cases took the shortest time possible to be acted upon, from the time the litigants file their complaints to when they finally get justice.
The same can be said about corruption cases in Kenya. Citizens being the key complainants often suffer the injustice of waiting for years for the courts to rule on corruption cases. Even then, many citizens have decried what they view as leniency or the outright manipulation of cases when the accused persons are given shorter sentences or the cases dismissed on technicalities or lack of evidence.
It is on this premise that the new Chief Justice must of priority; factor in mechanisms to fast-track corruption cases in her work plan. She must also look into creating better working relationships with the other anti-corruption agencies to ensure that the cases brought before the courts are timely and watertight.
This will in turn ensure that the anti-corruption exercises achieve their deterrent goals while ensuring that Kenyans get back their money and reinvest the amounts in development.