Address by The Chief Justice at The Launch of The Judiciary Transformation Framework
MAY 31, 2012 AT KICC GROUNDS
Ladies and Gentlemen, Country Women and Men, Friends and Colleagues,
I feel privileged to speak to you today about the distance we have covered and the journey upon which we wish to embark in reclaiming the Judiciary for the Kenyan public. In my Progress Report after 120 days in office, I painted a broad picture of the Judiciary we found. The details of that picture are much more engaging and warrant revisiting, even if only briefly. And in launching the Judiciary Transformation Framework today, I have chosen the eve of Madaraka Day, a day that marks our transition to self- rule as a signal to own our determination to create an independent and effective Judiciary.
An oft-repeated criticism of the Judiciary has been over how it has accumulated an impossible case backlog. Case delays have become the badge of inefficiency and ineffectiveness the Judiciary wears as its mark of distinction. Case backlogs constitute the single most important source of public frustration with the Judiciary. They open a door for fugitives from justice to seek refuge in the courts by turning them into a playground for the rich and corrupt.
Inefficiency manufactures artificial shortages of justice, manures the soils in which corruption is planted and manicures a culture of ineptitude. This environment distorted values and perverted the cause of justice. It created a vicious cycle where poor service, inadequate staff, graft and unfavourable working conditions fed on each other to create the crisis of confidence in whose grip the Judiciary found itself.
We sought innovative ways that would yield the quickest benefits for the Kenyan public. We adopted the rapid results approach to jumpstart organisational change and increase the capacity of staff to implement programmes. Confronting the issue of case backlogs in the Court of Appeal as well as in five divisions of the High Court has generated results as well as important lessons that inform the changes we wish to undertake in moulding the new Judiciary.