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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Walk the talk, Chief Justice

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For years, different court users have been complaining that some High Court judges, including some at its commercial division, have been sitting on cases without passing judgement.

And, as they say, justice delayed is justice denied. Indeed the country has seen litigants suffering for years only to be acquitted. The acquittal comes after the parties have lost businesses, jobs and even family bonds because of the stigma associated with being a suspect or a victim of injustice.

In some cases, fingers have consistently pointed at some judges as having a habit of sitting on cases even when they only remain with just a judgement to pronounce.

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But court users have resigned to fate because they could not push the judges other than reporting them to authorities.

It is, therefore, heart-warming to learn that the Chief Justice (CJ) has had enough of the complaints and he is determined to put an end to this mala-administration of justice. The CJ has given all judges a directive to clear their backlog of cases by September this year.

The head of the Judiciary has also warned that those who fail to meet the deadline shall be reported to the Judicial Service Commission for disciplinary actions. The CJ has also vowed to cramp down on corruption among judicial officers.

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Corruption in the judiciary has been blamed for the infamous missing of case files. It is on record that some court officers get bribes from lawyers to steal case files. Others get paid to remove from, or insert documents in, files. All this is done to defeat the course of justice.

As a result of delays by judges and corruption on the part of court officers, cases take ages to be completed. At the end of the day, justice is never realised because some crucial witnesses die or get transferred, making it expensive to pursue the matters.

All along, the judiciary has been living in denial. It treated the complaints as mere speculations as some concerned parties could not come in the open for fear of reprisals. Now that the Chief Justice has spoken, we see light at the end of the tunnel. We pray that the CJ will walk the talk on the issue.

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