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SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA AT THE

OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE EAST AFRICAN MAGISTRATES AND JUDGES


ASSOCIATION ANNUAL GENERAL CONFERENCE
It is my profound pleasure to address this auspicious gathering of Judges and
Magistrates from across East Africa, on the occasion of the East African
Magistrates and Judges Association's Annual General Conference, 201! "his
year's theme# $Administration of Justice in the %egion& %e'ections and
(erspecti)es$ is particularly timely! *nder this theme, I +ill proceed to address
you as partners in go)ernance!
"he East African region is ripe +ith promise! ,ur three -ations ha)e
e.perienced rapid political, social, legal and economic de)elopments in recent
years! "he unstoppa/le march of progress has /een matched /y steady
integration at the EAC le)el! 0enya, "an1ania and *ganda ha)e gro+n into
emerging modern, mature, social democracies# +hose people dream of and
e.pect their increased economic prospects to come hand2in2hand +ith greater
human rights, freedom and democratic space!
In 0enya, the )i/rancy of the state of the %ule of 3a+ is higher than e)er
/efore! 4ollo+ing the promulgation of a ne+ Constitution in 2010# 0enya has
undergone a complete go)ernance o)erhaul! As I stated during my speech to a
5pecial 5itting of the 0enyan (arliament on 6
th
,cto/er 201, there are )ery
fe+ constitutions that e7ual 0enya8s in terms of protection of the rights of the
indi)idual, its /alancing of E.ecuti)e, Judicial and 3egislati)e po+er, its demand
for fulsome pu/lic participation, transparency, accounta/ility and integrity!
(ost22010, +e no+ ha)e a truly independent Judiciary, +hich is e7uipped +ith a
Judiciary 4und that allo+s it to implement its strategic plans and address
capacity de)elopment issues +ithout /eing /eholden to either the E.ecuti)e or
the 3egislature! In that regard, funding for the Judiciary has increased nearly
tenfold in the last decade# +ith ne+ 9udicial stations /eing esta/lished across
the length and /readth of 0enya there/y /ringing access to 9ustice closer to the
(eople!
"he num/er of Judges and Magistrates has increased dramatically# +ith the
superior courts no+ /oasting almost three times as many Judges as they +ere
in 2010! "his ne+ institutional arrangement is no+ solely in the hands of the
Judiciary itself through the Judicial 5er)ice Commission! "he human resource
capacity of the Judiciary is greater than e)er and still increasing so as to
7uench the thirst of 0enyans for faster and more e:ecti)e 9ustice processes!
;ith its emphasis on su/stanti)e 9ustice, the e.peditious conclusion of cases,
and opportunities for alternati)e dispute resolution, our 9udiciary ma<es 0enya
attracti)e to di)erse sta<eholders! -on2go)ernmental entities, in)estors and
highly s<illed indi)iduals o:ering )arious ser)ices =nd +ithin this progressi)e
frame+or< many opportunities to ma<e 0enya /etter!
Against the /ac<drop of promise and a /right future, dar< clouds still linger,
threatening to /lot out the dreams of our (eople!
Increasingly, East African nations are e.periencing challenges that are cross2
/order in nature! "errorism, human tra>c<ing, illicit arms trade, smuggling,
poaching and narcotics trade are a shared /light across the %egion, and can
only /e e:ecti)ely com/ated /y close cooperation and coordination /y our
-ations!
"he Judicial ?ranch has a critical role to play in reali1ing the dreams and
e.pectations of East Africans! At the same time it helps =ght the )ices that
threaten our peace, progress, social harmony and happiness!
"he Courts are an e7ual arm of Go)ernment, sharing the same Constitutional
/urden as the 3egislati)e and E.ecuti)e arms! -one may sit aloof or set forth
to operate unilaterally or function independently of the others! "he 5tate is
strongest and most capa/le of ful=lling its o/ligations under the Grand 5ocial
Contract +hen the "hree ?ranches =nd synergy and +or< together!
"he three Arms of Go)ernment are not meant to /e in con'ict nor are they in
competition! "he (rinciple of Chec<s and ?alances underpinning our
constitutional order does not empo+er any ?ranch to infringe on the mandate
or role of another, or to impose its o+n particular )ision on the decisions and
actions of the others! Mutual respect, humility, communication and an eye on
the pursuit of the greater common good are the grease that oils the three
indispensa/le cogs of the engine of 5tate, allo+ing for each to turn smoothly
and +or< together +ithout friction!
I must add here that in 0enya, the Judiciary can lead our nation in em/edding
its collecti)e psyche in the -ational @alues and (rinciples of Go)ernance!
I /elie)e that 9udicial independence must remain in)iola/le! Its foremost
guardians are the holders of 9udicial authority! A critical threat to 9udicial
independence is its potential for a/use! "herefore, the 9udiciary must sternly
re9ect corruption and impunity in all their manifestations!
A common concern across East Africa is that at times the Judiciary acts in a
manner that thro+s road/loc<s in front of the proper e.ecution of la+ful
E.ecuti)e and 3egislati)e authority! In particular, the issuance of in9uncti)e
interim orders, especially e.2parte, has done much to undermine good+ill and
harmony /et+een the "hree Arms of Go)ernment in each -ation!
,)er the ne.t fe+ days, it /ehoo)es you to discuss this issue, +ith a )ie+ of
agreeing on common standards of 9udicial practice across East Africa that +ill
address the concerns of the E.ecuti)e and 3egislati)e ?ranches, /ut +ithout
lessening the )itality of the %ule of 3a+ and the proper administration of
9ustice! "hat ?alance, delicate as it may /e, must /e found for there to /e 9ust
and e:ecti)e Go)ernment in our young democracies!
In that regard, I encourage you to reach out to the E.ecuti)e, 3egislature, -on2
Go)ernmental players and the (u/lic at large! Much more can /e achie)ed /y
consultation and consensus /uilding than /y /rin<smanship! As Africans, +e
ha)e al+ays appreciated the importance and understood the undenia/le
/ene=ts of the community sitting do+n to /rainstorm in the face of challenges
aimed at /uilding stronger 5tates! Justice is not the e.clusi)e pro)ince of the
9udiciary! %ather, it is the tree in +hose shade +e all congregate to confer on
ho+ to ste+ard the social contract!
Justice is the principle +hich su:uses the functions of e)ery indi)idual, o>ce
and institution! More than anything else, our capacity for 9ustice legitimi1es our
+or<! "herefore, +e must do 9ustice to each other as partners in go)ernance,
and to the people8s trust for +hich +e are ste+ards!
"his is not to say that the E.ecuti)es and the 3egislatures are immaculate and
infalli/le!
"his forum pro)ides you +ith an opportunity to identify the challenges you are
e.periencing +ith regard to E.ecuti)e and 3egislati)e action and the /est +ay
+e can o)ercome them in a respectful, consultati)e and principled manner!
My Go)ernment8s commitment to the %ule of 3a+ in 0enya cannot /e
7uestioned! Just recently, I too< the step of honouring summons of the
International Criminal Court, /oth as a personal o/ligation, and to demonstrate
the principle that o/edience to 9udicial edicts is )ital!
"he rule of la+ depends in no small measure on the respect for 9udicial
authority! In turn, this is made concei)a/le /y the e.pectation that e)ery
9udicial action and decision is inherently 9ust! "otal o/edience must /e met +ith
total integrity!
My Go)ernment's un+a)ering commitment to the %ule of 3a+ is part of our
solemn pledge to honour, o/ey, uphold and defend the Constitution of the
%epu/lic of 0enya at all times!
It is also informed /y inescapa/le logic& +e may not al+ays li<e the orders
issued /y Courts, +e may profoundly disagree +ith their su/stance, /ut I
/elie)e that +e +ill ne)er disregard them for in doing so +e +ould /e sho+ing
contempt to the )ery same constitution from +hich +e dra+ our o+n po+er
and authority!
Most importantly, this forum +ill pro)ide you +ith an opportunity to discuss a
common 9udicial philosophy and approach to the cross2/order challenges that
plague our -ations!
In the same +ay that legitimate /usinesses ha)e sei1ed on the tremendous
opportunities on o:er from trading across national lines, criminals and
terrorists are also see<ing to create regional net+or<s and ply their e)il across
our /orders! "o address this menace, the Courts in East Africa must come
together the same +ay security, intelligence and specialist agencies ha)e! "his
+ay, +e +ill ans+er regional integration +ith the integration of la+
enforcement capacity!
I +ish to conclude /y +elcoming our )isitors to 0enya! I sincerely hope that
you +ill not spend the +hole of your time in our lo)ely Country cooped up in
Aotels and Meeting %ooms! "he organi1ers of this e)ent ha)e no dou/t made
some arrangements for our )isitors to sample the sights and +arm hospitality
of -airo/i and the magic of 0enya! Bour 0enyan colleagues are also on hand as
your hosts to gi)e you a tour of the City and country! Karibuni sana!
I +ish you successful deli/erations and a happy stay in -airo/i and 0enya! I
also loo< for+ard to considering the learned outcomes of this conference! "his
year's East African Magistrates and Judges Association Annual Conference is
no+ o>cially open!
"han< you and God /less East Africa!
"han< Bou!