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Chief Justice Martha Koome has convened a critical meeting for Heads of Court, focusing on judicial independence, improved performance, enhanced accountability, and seamless service delivery.

The meeting, which commenced on Monday and will conclude on Wednesday, addresses pressing issues within the Judiciary, especially in light of recent events that have brought the role of judges into public scrutiny.

In her opening remarks, the CJ stressed the importance of dialogue with other branches of government to address challenges in the administration of justice while safeguarding judicial independence.

“While we engage in constructive conversations to optimize the institution’s performance, we must ensure that discussions do not encroach upon the autonomy of judges in deciding cases,” emphasized CJ Koome.

However, she acknowledged the need for introspection regarding how courts handle cases affecting public interest and policy, particularly concerning the timeliness of resolving such matters.

“Concerns have been raised about the handling of cases involving time-sensitive government programs, especially when hearing dates are set months after ex-parte orders are issued,” Chief Justice Koome noted.

She highlighted the importance of reviewing procedural rules to expedite the disposal of public interest cases while respecting judges’ decisional autonomy and actively managing such cases.

Furthermore, CJ Koome reaffirmed the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) mandate to address allegations of corruption, urging Heads of Courts to report any concerns promptly.

“We must motivate and inspire judges, judicial officers, and staff to uphold integrity. Any concerns about corruption should be brought to the attention of my office or the JSC,” she directed.

 

The Chief Justice emphasized the Judiciary’s commitment to enhancing operational efficiency through technology, announcing the nationwide rollout of e-filing on March 11th, 2024.

“We are embracing technology to streamline court proceedings, including the establishment of a pilot transcription center and the introduction of a ‘Tracking Dashboard’ for real-time monitoring of court activities,” CJ Koome explained.

She highlighted new features such as the publication of rulings and judgments, along with Automated Daily Court Reporting, aimed at addressing discrepancies in the Case Tracking System and ensuring reliable data for informed decision-making and institutional development. Capital News

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) during a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in March 2019. 
PHOTO

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday, February 17, made a plea for the resumption of the Nairobi Process led by former President Uhuru Kenyatta which seeks to bring peace and stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

This followed a tense African Union (AU) meeting where Kagame remarked that his nation would not hesitate to protect nor would it apologize for safeguarding the security of its people. 

In the meeting, Kagame further told Heads of State that Rwanda would not seek permission to do so. 

In an AU document seen by Kenyans.co.keKagame’s remarks during the meeting had been redacted from the communique. 

“Rwanda is deeply concerned by the abandonment of the Luanda and Nairobi Processes by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and by the international community's indifference to DRC's dramatic military build-up,” Rwandan foreign ministry released a statement moments after the AU Summit. 

While Rwanda remarks that the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led peace initiative had been abandoned, AU in its communique spoke of the contrary.  

AU had remarked that it was deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Eastern DRC which it stated was orchestrated by Rwanda-backed M23 rebels. 

“The AU reiterates its call for M23, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other armed groups to unconditionally cease hostilities, disarm and engage in dialogue through the Luanda and Nairobi processes,” AU threw its weight behind Uhuru’s efforts. 

In their defence, Rwanda now claims that DRC is conducting combat operations in contravention of the decisions of regional mechanisms and aims to expel M23 and civilians to neighbouring countries. 

“The recent M23 advances are due to the DRC's decision to expel the East African Community Regional Force in December 2023, which oversaw ceasefire and withdrawal efforts,” Kagame defended his stance.  

Among forces that have been withdrawn from DRC include members of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). 

Kagame further alleged that there was a plan by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to invade Rwanda and institute a regime change.

Additionally, Rwanda faulted a statement by the United States which blamed Kagame’s administration for the deteriorating situation in DRC.

“The statement issued by the U.S. Department of State stands in puzzling contradiction with the substance and tone of the confidence-building process initiated by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in November 2023, which created a productive framework for de-escalation,” Kagame’s administration stated. By Kioko Nyamasyo, Kenyans.co.ke

 

Azimio leader Raila Odinga has continued to get support from various quarters after expressing interest in the African Union Commission chairman post.

In a statement issued over the weekend The Amani National Congress Party (ANC) stated that it fully supports the diplomatic efforts of the Kenya Kwanza Government to have the Eastern African region lead the African Union Commission.

“We applaud Kenya’s diplomatic efforts at the on-going AU Summit in Addis Ababa, led by the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, and believe that the time is ripe for the Eastern African Region to lead the AU’s commission, “the statement read in part.

The party stated that Opposition leader Raila Odinga is well experienced and has shown dedication to the advancement of the African continent which makes him a highly qualified candidate suitable for the job.

“ANC also stands in full support of former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo’s endorsement of Raila Odinga for the AUC chairperson, Odinga has extensive experience.”

According to The Amani National Congress Party, Odinga will protect the interests of the continent and promote unity and progress among African nations if elected as the next chairperson for the AU Commission.

The party also urged other East African Community Member States to support Odinga’s bid in order for him to take over the position next year when the current Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat retires.

 “We commend Mudavadi’s unwavering leadership in championing the region’s candidacy. His strong credentials reflect Kenya’ strong dedication to furthering the interests of the continent and promoting unity,” It added.

Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura also revealed that the opposition leader Raila Odinga would take Kenya and the continent to greater heights if he gets the top African Union (AU) Commission job. 

“If he gets an opportunity to serve us at the AU as the chair, we as Kenyans forget all our differences and rally behind a fellow Kenya. If Mr. Odinga has expressed interest, we would rather have him there because when he is there the interests of Kenya are taken care of. We as government fully support his candidature,” stated Mwaura.

Mwaura’s assertions now put to rest doubts that the  Kenya Kwanza government led by President William Ruto supports  Odinga’s candidature.

On Saturday, the ruling party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) endorsed Odinga’s bid to be the next chairperson of the Africa Union Commission however refuting claims that the party support for Odinga’s bid is a political move. By Wangechi Purity, Capital News

The price of maize has started going down over the past two weeks as cheaper imports from neighbouring Uganda flood the informal market.

A 90-kilogram bag of maize that used to retail at Sh 4,200 is now fetching as low as Sh 3,400 following competition from the cheap imports in parts of Trans Nzoia County.

 

According to sources, middlemen buy 90 kg of maize for between 1,500 and 1,800 in Uganda, which they later sell at between Sh3,400 and Sh3,800 locally.

The maize is being sourced from Bukwo District, Eastern Uganda, where harvesting kicked off last December.  

Kenyan middlemen have stocked huge consignments of maize sourced from across the border, which they dry and sell to local millers.Maize farmers ask for better prices and more subsidies to make a profit

The arrival of cheap imports has seen prices dwindle, a situation that has disadvantaged Kenyan farmers.

Tom Nyagechega, the Kenya National Federation of Farmer Kenff Commodity Representative, acknowledged that the cheap imports have affected local prices. 

"The cheap imports have destabilised producer prices and disadvantaged local farmers," lamented Nyagechaga.

He complained that middlemen had taken advantage of the free market to import huge maize consignments that have affected local prices. By Obare Osinde, The Standard 

‘You can sense my impatience’: Illegal migration minister ‘guarantees’ Rwanda flights before election© Sky

Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson has 'guaranteed' that planes will take off for Rwanda before the next general election.

Mr Tomlinson appeared on Sky NewsSunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, where he was directly asked what the government's plans were.

"I want that to happen as soon as possible, you can sense, I hope, my impatience for that", he said of his hopes for the plans. 

However, the minister noted that several bills would have to pass before the first plane would set off. By Sophie Thompson, The Independent

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