Chief Justice David Maraga has said poor funding is the main impediment to the administration of justice to Kenyans.
Speaking in Tharaka-Nithi County on Wednesday during the commissioning of Sh98 million Chuka Law courts building, Mr Maraga said there is need to establish a Magistrate court in every Sub-County and a High court in every county for swift administration of justice.
He said to do that he requires a budget of at least Sh5 billion and he will make sure that counties that have large number of cases have more than one High court.
“We have a plan to ensure that we take the judicial services closer to the people but due to the constrained budget we cannot meet our expectations,” said Mr Maraga.
He said the Judiciary is in consultation with Parliament to find a solution that will ensure the wheels of justice move faster.
The Chief Justice said Chuka court building is among the 27 that have been funded with a loan of Sh2.5 billion from World Bank, a project that is ending next year.
He said soon the High court in Chuka will be relocated to a five-acre land at the county headquarters in Kathwana that has been donated by the county government and the Chuka one will remain a Magistrate court.
He said to deal with backlogging of cases, the Judiciary will work with the community elders such as the Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council to ensure that they solve civil issues such as succession.
He said once the cases have been brought in court, they will be handed over to the elders who should arbitrate and report back to court the solution so that it can be adopted and a court order is issued immediately.
He added that there are an alarming number of cases of defilement, illicit brew and drugs abuse in Chuka court and urged elders and religious leaders to help counsel the young people who are the most victims.
“We have a backlog of 2330 criminal cases and 244 civil cases in this court, an indicator that there are very many criminal cases in this region,” he said.
Mr Maraga challenged the State counsel to up their game noting that the government was losing very many cases due to laxity.
He noted that there is a lot of improvement in police stations and prisons in the manner in which they are handling suspects and convicts respectively.
Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki said his government will donate land in Chogoria and Kathangacini for construction of magistrate courts.
Mr Njuki lauded Mr Maraga for his boldness in addressing the challenges that the Judiciary is facing.
Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara and his Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency counterpart Patrick Munene promised to set aside money from the National Government Constituency Development Fund kitty for construction of court buildings.
Also present were Chuka High Court Judge Hon. Robert Limo and his Meru High Court counterpart Hon. Alfred Mabea, Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Ms Beverly Opwora and Patrick Gichoi, a Judicial Service Commission member.