Judiciary’s cash woes to persist
The Treasury has allocated the Judiciary Sh18.9 billion in this year’s Budget, way below the Sh39.5 billion it had asked for.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the allocation comprises Sh16.9 billion, which includes Sh587. 3 million for the Judicial Service Commission for recurrent and Sh2 billion for development.
The Judiciary had complained that the proposed amount will not be sufficient for the institution to deliver its mandate.
Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi, while making a presentation before the Budget Committee, warned that should the Sh17.5 billion proposal be retained, the Judiciary would only have Sh2 billion to spend on development with Sh15.59 billion expected to fund recurrent expenditure.
She said the amount would leave the Judiciary with a 44 per cent budget shortfall.
In the 2020/21 financial year, the National Treasury allocated Sh18.1 billion to the Judiciary.
Amadi said it is unfortunate that justice needs in the country had been overlooked over the years.
“If we say the Judiciary only deserves 0.6 per cent of the national budget, what does it say about us as a nation in terms of our justice needs,?” she posed.
Amadi protested that the Judiciary’s funding had continuously been less than half of the resource requirements adding that the situation is worrying.
“Is justice in the country so unimportant that the funding gap keeps growing wider and wider as the national funding keeps increasing? That is something for all of us to think about,” she said.
The Judiciary budget allocations in the Financial Year 2018/19 was Sh16.095 billion which increased by 5 per cent to Sh16.963 billion in the Financial Year 2019/20 and rose by 1 per cent to Sh17.133 billion in Financial Year 2020/21.
The Judiciary’s absorption rate was at 95 per cent in the Financial Year 2018/19, which improved to 97 per cent in 2019/20 but reduced to 93 per cent in Financial Year 2020/21.
She observed that the shortfall will affect key areas notably the establishment and construction of courts, facilitation of benches, operationalisation of small claims courts, court annexed mediation, Alternative Justice System, service weeks, pro bono, mobile courts among others.
Amadi added that underfunding would stretch the Judiciary especially during the elections where an influx of cases arising from party primaries, nomination of candidates and constitutional petitions are expected.
Chief Justice Martha Koome has been leading calls for more funds for the Judiciary.
Her predecessor David Maraga was also very vocal on the issues of funding with his efforts to seek a minimum of 1 per cent of the national budget prompting bitter exchanges between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.