The Judiciary of Kenya has appealed to the citizens to uphold its independence amidst ongoing threats and criticism directed towards judges, while emphasizing the imperative of adhering to court orders.

In a three-day assembly attended by senior judges from various tiers of the judicial system, including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Employment and Labour Relations Court, and the Environment and Land Court, it was reaffirmed that judicial authority is beholden solely to the law and cannot be influenced or directed by any external entities.

The gathering in Naivasha, which also aimed to brief court heads on discussions between Chief Justice Martha Koome and President William Ruto, acknowledged the importance of expediting time-sensitive cases, particularly those pertaining to government programs. This acknowledgement stemmed from allegations made by Ruto, who accused certain judges of colluding with vested interests to impede government initiatives through injunctions and prohibitory orders.

During the meeting, Chief Justice Koome encouraged judges to reflect on their approach to cases that impact public policy and interest. Ruto’s criticism centered on the judiciary’s perceived obstruction of government agendas, resulting in delayed hearings and administrative hurdles.

Chief Justice Koome addressed concerns regarding the timing of hearings and the resolution of cases affecting government projects, especially when temporary restraining orders are issued, leading to prolonged waiting periods for trial dates.

To address these challenges, the judges resolved to review and revise their procedural rules to streamline the adjudication process for time-sensitive matters. They pledged to prioritize such cases, ensuring timely resolutions while upholding the principle of impartial justice for all.

A significant bottleneck exists within the Constitutional and Human Rights division of the High Court, which faces delays due to a shortage of judges. The judges committed to optimizing the division’s capacity once additional judges are appointed, while also implementing a rotational system to diversify the handling of cases involving the government.

Additionally, judges stationed in remote areas may participate in hearings through virtual platforms under the Mahakama Popote Initiative, facilitating efficient case management and prompt disposal.

In a resolution endorsed by Chief Justice Koome, the judges called upon Kenyans to stand in solidarity with the judiciary, whose autonomy is under threat. They expressed concerns over the growing disobedience of court orders and the inadequate allocation of resources, urging all state officials to comply with judicial directives.

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