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Collective effort the solution to ease common justice sector challenges

23 January 2020

The importance of a concerted, collective effort to address common challenges for agencies involved in the administration of justice is underscored in Kenya’s latest State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Annual Report (SOJAR) released today.

Among its comprehensive data, the 2018-19 annual progress report contains an overview of the activities carried out by the Judiciary and 21 other agencies in the justice sector, including committees of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ).

Chapter 10 concludes that eight key, common challenges are: inadequate resources, delays in service delivery, weak coordination among justice actors, low uptake of technology to leverage service delivery, low levels of public engagement, the politicisation of justice processes, policy and legislative gaps, and corruption.

The report is endorsed by the Chief Justice, Hon. David Maraga, who is also the NCAJ Chairman, and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Hon. Anne Amadi, who is the NCAJ Secretary, thereby linking the Judiciary and other agencies that sit together under the NCAJ umbrella.

“The SOJAR offers a reflection point for how we’re going with the administration of justice, not only for the Judiciary but for all institutions, thereby giving a broad view of achievements for the justice sector in general,” the Acting NCAJ Chief Executive, Dr. Conrad Bosire, said.

“The report indicates innovativeness and creativeness carried out by institutions to enhance performance of their respective mandates.

“Unique challenges specific to institutions are covered, yet the report also concludes that overarching challenges running across the justice sector require concerted, collective action by the institutions that make up the NCAJ membership.

“Significantly, the report underscores that you can put in your best efforts as an individual institution, but for lasting impact, the justice chain has to be complete, and that’s what NCAJ members are working towards,” Dr. Bosire said.

The SOJAR states that in 2018-19 there was an improved case clearance rate, improved customer and staff satisfaction rate and an overall drop in corruption incidences in the Judiciary.

By June 2019, a total of 186,716 cases of over five years’ duration had been cleared in all courts translating into an achievement level of 110 percent. However, as new cases had joined the five-year bracket, the report states that a total of 39,781 cases remained unresolved as of June 2019.

Among data in other institutions’ updates, the National Police Service (NPS) reported that between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 there were 88,268 reported cases of crime, compared to 77,992 cases in 2017, which was a 13 per cent increase.

According to NPS, the major increases were recorded in the individual crimes of possession of dangerous drugs (by 2,268 cases), followed by assault (1,544 cases), defilement (1,450 cases) and general stealing (1,258 cases).

However, decreases were noted in the following categories: theft by servant (by 155 cases or 5.9 per cent), theft of Stock (59 cases or 2.8 per cent), breakings (161 cases or 2.6 per cent), and vehicle and other thefts (34 cases or 2.4 per cent).

The Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) reported that in the 2018-19 period under review, the daily average prisoners’ population was 55,000, comprising 30,000 convicted and 25,000 un-convicted prisoners, plus 300 children aged below four years of age accompanying their mothers in prison.

The SOJAR states that as the official holding capacity is 30,000 prisoners, the prison facilities are overcrowded by about 83 per cent.

Also during 2018-19, the Probation and Aftercare Service (PACS) supervised a monthly average of about 6,544 offenders on probation orders, while the Witness Protection Agency (WPA) successfully protected 224 witnesses.

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