Chief Justice reiterates judiciary’s commitment to support devolution

The judiciary has committed to continue supporting devolution by expediting cases involving County Governments.

Chief Justice David Maraga says the judiciary will give priority to cases involving County Governments to ensure smooth implementation of devolution in the Country.

Speaking in Kisii County during a courtesy call on Governor James Ongwae, Justice Maraga reiterated the judiciary’s commitment to ensure devolution works.

"As the judiciary, we have and will continue supporting devolution. We shall speedily deal with cases filed against or by counties especially where orders issued may affect the operations of Counties.

He noted that during his visit to Tharaka Nithi County, the area Governor raised concern over a court order that had affected the operations of the Land Board.

Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, Speaker Kerosi Ondieki, CPSB Chair David Kombo, Ag. County Attorney Ken Onsembe and County Assembly Justice Committee chair Koina Onyancha were present.

Governor Ongwae thanked Justice Maraga for visiting his home County of Kisii and pledged to collaborate with the judiciary to promote delivery of justice services to the people.

"We have built a structure to house the County Court complete with a magistrate court, cells and other auxiliary facilities. Once operational, this court will boost revenue collection arising from statutory compliance to laws on buildings, traffic, environment and other cases. We ask the judiciary to designate a magistrate and other offices to operationalize the court," said Ongwae.

Already, the County has sent two officers to the Kenya School of Law for training on prosecution. Governor Ongwae also announced that the County had donated a parcel of land to house offices for the Kisii Law Courts.

Appreciating the gesture, Justice Maraga asked the Governor to help the judiciary acquire a title to the parcel of land saying a new high-rise premise will be built to house 11 chambers and space for the court of appeal.

Justice Maraga announced plans by the Judiciary to use County Halls and other facilities to handle post poll petitions arising from election of Members of County Assemblies (MCAs).

"We anticipate a lot of poll petitions affecting MCAs which should be dealt on the ground where they arise. We shall inspect existing facilities in surbordinate courts and where we find them inadequate to handle the numbers, we shall work with Counties to use their halls," he said.

He announced plans by the Judiciary to build additional courts at the grassroots in Kisii.

"We plan to build courts at Nyacheki and Manga areas so we ask the County to consider donating more land for this endeavour. This will go a long way in bringing services closer to the people and decongest the courts," said Maraga.

He expressed concern over the high number of succession cases within courts in Kisii and urged the community to embrace out of court settlement or use the court annexed mediation to ease the backlog.

Kisii Resident Judge Justice Joseph Karanja, Chief of Staff Duncan Okello and head of the National Commission on Administration of Justice Irene Momanyi among other officers flanked Justice Maraga.