The race for a Law Society of Kenya’s (LSK) male representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has narrowed down contestants after one participant opted to drop out of the race.
Alex Gatundu, who has been widely described as a decoy and not ‘so serious’ for the position is said to have ‘stepped down’ in favor of one Macharia Njeru making it now a two-horse race between Professor Tom Ojienda and Macharia Njeru.
A section of legal analysts say Professor Tom Ojienda seems to have an upper hand given his experience on the corridors of power and justice though should expect a fierce fight from his opponent, Macharia Njeru.
Professor Tom Ojienda’s journey to recapture the JSC position has been rocky with clear efforts from certain quarters to frustrate and block his ambitions. In 2018, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was on his neck a mission that could have denied him a clearance certificate was it not for the ruling of the court among other intensified attacks including from the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
Professor Tom Ojienda’s proponents say that his efforts to ensure that the justice systems is felt by the people at the grassroots level will propel him ahead of his competitor. The recent was the JSC’s okaying for the hiring of 40 judges across the country to ease the continuous shortage in courts.
During Professor Ojeinda’s tenure at the JSC, records at the judiciary show that the arm has increased the number of High Court stations from 14 to 34 in a span of 5 years with others still under construction.
Magistrate courts as of 2016 were 120 compared to 109 in 2011. Also, more Kadhi Courts were constructed and instead of the 15 courts in 2011, by 2016 there were a total of 56 among other notable developments.
Not long ago, there weren’t so many female staff in the Judiciary, however, during the period under review, out of 25 judges of the Court of Appeal, 8 of them are women. What this means is that the institution is decentralizing and properly getting staffed for better justice provision.
Notably, the Court of Appeal waiting time reduced from nine years to three years, and outer stations hearing appeal matters on a real-time basis.
Apart from case backlog reduction, the Judiciary, in five years from 2011, has improved budget allocation. The institution’s fund has been operationalized and an internal capacity created to manage it competently.
Among other financial transitions include the institutionalization of results based on budgeting and the establishment of a financial management and accountability system. Moreover, the Judiciary has also strengthened its procurement and accounting capacity in order to meet regulatory standards and customer needs
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