Sunday, May 22, 2011
THE JUDICIARY THAT KENYANS ARE DYING FOR.
For any democracy to thrive there must be justice. For justice to thrive there must be impartiality within the justice system. For impartiality to thrive there must be men and women who understand the law and are capable of applying it while asserting their independence from executive control.
Kenya, like most developing countries, lacks an independent judiciary mainly because of the lack of judges who are incorruptible, firm and independent. Time and again atrocities have been seen to be perpetrated by the judiciary and government officials against the weaker members of the society. As a result the citizens of Kenya fail to accord the much-needed respect to this very important organ of the nation. They continue to display their disgust and anger at the judiciary because of the open injustice that is continually carried out by the judicial system and government officials against the innocent and mostly poor citizens. Many a time the judiciary has appeared to be doing the dirty work for the corrupt politicians, businessmen and wealthy who seem to be holding the whole country at ransom.
With the nomination of Dr. Willy Mutunga and Ms. Nancy Baraza to serve as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively, Kenyans are seeing an opportunity for them to be served with justice. They are seeing great judges, a man and a woman of courage, who are incorruptible and prepared to accept the consequences of their decisions. They are seeing judges who will consider the law and the feelings of all parties with sympathy and understanding. They are seeing a man and woman whose knowledge of the law and human affairs is so extensive that they will experience little difficulty in grasping the main issues of any dispute. Their past records display their impartiality, an attribute that is so rare in Kenya and it inspires the confidence of the citizens in their ability and sense of justice.
It is against this background that we implore our politicians to be more mature and to have more depth as they deliberate the nominations of these two judicial nominees. Kenyans are deeply disturbed that some of our politicians, regardless of their political parties, prefer to dwell on trivial issues. Pointing out the stud that a person wears as being a factor in his ability (or lack of it) to carry out his duties displays a dangerous lack of wisdom, knowledge, maturity and genuine leadership qualities. Such leaders are harping on issues that have no relevance to the judiciary and the country at large. With the national judicial crisis that we are facing, one would expect them to focus their energy and resources on how best they could help Kenyans and their judiciary face this dangerous uncertainty and weakness in the justice system. The issues that these politicians are bringing up are trivial, disappointing and retrogressive. They are calculated to play on the minds and emotions of the simple-minded people with the aim of exploiting religious and cultural divisions for their own selfish agenda. Kenya belongs to all Kenyans irrespective of their religious, cultural, sexual, racial, political or ethnic affiliations. Kenyans should reject all leaders who try to play the religious, cultural, gender or ethnic card. They should focus on the most important issue that confronts all of us and that is restoring the image and dignity of our judicial system by giving a chance to a man and woman who have earned the right to be at the helm of our judiciary.