Judiciary Funding Problems Correlate with its Efficiency Questions

Kipkogei Kemboi
Post Date: 23 January 2020

In the last quarter of 2019, there was a huge cry over Judiciary budget cuts done by National Treasury. The budget cuts were wrong for three reasons. First, the power to allocate resources rests with Parliament. Hence, the Treasury's decision to cut the judiciary’s budget was in bad faith and unlawful. Secondly, the issues around efficiency in Judiciary has always been tied to inadequate resource allocation. Thirdly, Judiciary budgets have not grown commensurately like other arms of Government in the last decade. The chart below shows the shorter trend of how the Judiciary budget has grown and even sometimes regressed.  

However, there is a need to study Kenya's Judiciary funding issues because the problem is more systemic because it has persisted over time and through different regimes. All this can be understood by studying tracking developments in the Judicial sector. Most Kenyans are not aware that each year the Judiciary publishes a report illustrating key happenings and detailing issues in the Justice sector. The report is referred to as the ‘State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report’ (Popularly known as SOJAR). 

Scrutiny of complaints made by the members of the public shows that funding issues with the Judiciary budget form part of the problem. The complaints concerning Judiciary made to the Office of Judiciary Ombudsman actually correlate with the capacity challenges it has. From the data in table 1, most of the complaints centre around slow service, missing file, and poor services. Other major issues include; delayed rulings and judgements, corruption and delayed orders. 

Classification of the 11 most prevalent complaints as either capacity challenges or administrative issues such as corruption and cannibalized files can be cured through proper administration. There's a direct relationship between inadequate funding and what Kenyan citizenry complains about. For the two years, complaints around capacity challenges have shot up from 65% to 73%, while administrative issues have reduced from 35% to 27%.  But the majority of the complaints relate to funding challenges. 

In conclusion, all these issues can be cured through enhanced capacity by Parliament allocating adequate resources to the judiciary. American Judge Sandra Day O’Connor once said, “The framers of the American Constitution were so clear that an independent judiciary was critical to the success of the nation”.

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