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JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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Judges will on Wednesday discuss proposals on how they should be vetted as required by the new Constitution. Some of them are contemplating retiring from the Bench, rather than go through the vetting. Of the six judges interviewed by the Nation, five said that they planned to take early retirement, rather than be investigated for corruption and incompetence. A team, headed by Justice William Ouko, will take the judges, who are attending their annual meeting in Mombasa, through the Judiciary’s suggestions on the vetting. Kenyan Judiciary is conservative The Kenyan Judiciary is conservative and judges hardly ever express an opinion in the Press. The judges the Nation interviewed only spoke on condition of anonymity. “I have served the Judiciary for long enough and no one has ever questioned my integrity and competence. Why do I have to go through vetting? I have a few years remaining to my retirement and I don’t want to go down in history as the judge who was vetted and found wanting,” a senior judge said. “Let the State undertake to pay us our dues and I am sure many of us will opt to go home and pursue other things in life,” another High Court judge said. The Judiciary would like judges vetted by an independent tribunal made up of nine members, according to the report of the Ouko team. Of the nine, three should be from the reconstituted Judicial Service Commission and the other six picked through a competitive process. The report also suggests that the tribunal look at existing complaints against judicial officers, complaints in the hands of the Law Society of Kenya, which the judges might have committed while in private practice, among others. The team asked that organs such as the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, the Criminal Investigations Department and the National Security Intelligence Services be invited to give input on judges and magistrates under investigation.

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