Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu has made a string of radical proposals meant to change the face of Kenya’s judiciary, composition of the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC), and the process of dispensing justice.
In his draft Legislative amendment, Ngunjiri, a key ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, says the Judiciary consists of people from the legal profession only – and thus does not represent the Kenyan society as is the case with other two arms of government.
“Judiciary is marketplace for lawyers doing business with common people, who have no say over the process of how the business is done. You find your lawyer, the prosecutor and the judge are former schoolmates and peers. You are the only stranger and are not allowed to question. They say they are professionals,” he is quoted as saying by a local daily.
Judiciary Serving 49m Kenyans
Ngunjiri also proposes that the JSC should be headed by a non-lawyer. Chief Justice Martha Koome is the current chair of the commission. “We have a situation where one arm of government serving 49 million of us is being co-ordinated by one profession. It is not a question of how good they are but their view on the society is directed by where they come from and legal studies. They talk to themselves and protect themselves as well (as) their peers.
In the proposals, the outspoken MP says should adopt the system of jurists, picked from ordinary Kenyans. The jurists will be 12 members picked from the society to handle disputes. “The work of the judge will be to pass a final judgement according to the law,” suggests Ngunjiri.
As expected, the proposals have triggered a barrage of reactions from members of the legal fraternity.
“Dis-Honourable Ngunjiri Wambugu exemplifies individual and collective diminution in quality, of our representatives in Parliament,” says Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi. “Does he, in the first place, understand the meaning of Judiciary, its position in a modern State, its independence and accountability in Kenya.”