Kenya Chief Justice hopeful Vows to Digitize Court Documents, Collectively Fight Terrorism during Vetting

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Kenya Chief Justice hopeful David Maraga told MPs vetting him that judges and magistrates should not be vetted as this instills fear instead of adding value the star newspaper covering the event reports.

The judicial sage who has been serving at the appellant court was nominated in September by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to succeed retired Chief Justice Willy Munyoki Mutunga.

“We do not need to vet judges and magistrates regularly because the JSC is mandated to deal with indiscipline,” he told the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee panel on Thursday.

“We do not want to instill fear in judicial officers but a sense of accountability. The Judicial Service Commission can discipline those who err.”

Maraga said article 165 of the Kenyan constitution allows the judiciary to issue injunctions on disciplinary matters.

“The office of the Ombudsman also deals with the issue of complaints and I plan to strengthen it,” he said.

On terrorism, Maraga said the fight should not only be left to the executive.

“The three arms of government need to come together to discuss issues that affect our country. If we are able to sit and discuss then we can fight this,” he said.

“No arm of government can have absolute power. That is why checks and balances exist.”

Maraga said when they receive terror suspects, they are forced to first look into the nature of the offence before making any decisions.

“We have to take into consideration the nature of the offense. I am a very liberal person and I deal with cases according to the law,” he said.

He said his duty is to make sure everyone coming to court, regardless of their religion and is accorded their constitutional rights.

Maraga further said he will digitize documents in the judiciary and automate court proceedings.

“It is commitment to the work,” he said. “I read my files thoroughly… this facilitates me in understanding the issues hence faster judgement.”

Maraga is being vetted on the backdrop of three petitions against his appointment.

The public vetting is the final hurdle between the 66-year old and the coveted job, after grueling interviews by the JSC.

For the vetting at Continental House in Nairobi, the nominee was asked to bring his original identity card, academic and professional certificates, and testimonials.

He is also to take letters or certificates of clearance from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya Revenue Authority, Higher Education Loans Board, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and any credit reference bureau.

Source: The Star