The judiciary in Kenya has undergone some major reforms since Chief Justice Willy Mutunga assumed office in June last year, the most recent being the new system going by the name Faini Chap Chap, that allows traffic offenders to pay their fines via Mpesa.
Launched last week, the new system is set to make life easier for traffic offenders in Kenya. This means that in the event you are arrested for a traffic offence and have pleaded guilty to the charge (and haven’t been able to bribe the arresting officer!) all you need to do is go to the Mpesa menu in your phone, enter the bill number (583400), enter your file number and the amount and off you go.
Faini chap chap replaces the old lengthy procedure which could take even two days just to pay a court fine. According to Gladys Shollei, a Judiciary Registrar, “the process of paying fines was more excruciating than the pinch on the wallet”.
60 MILLION PAGES DIGITIZED
Other reforms have seen the recruitment of more judges and electronic access to case recordings.
According to a progress report on the transformation of the judiciary made public in October last year, Willy Mutunga announced, just 120 days after taking office, that the Judiciary had completed digitizing 60 million pages of cases for the High Court across Kenya.
Kenyans can also now download court forms on the judiciary website for free, where before people had to pay a fee initially.
In an effort to stamp out corruption from the judiciary, Willy Mutunga appointed an Ombudsman to receive and respond to complaints by staff and the public and in just three months the office is said to have received over 700 complaints. (What has been done about the complaints is another matter which the Kenya Forum is looking into).
In addition to this, an online customer care system was introduced whereby Kenyans can also SMS an inquiry to 5834.Technology has also been enhanced and typing bureaus introduced to help lawyers respond to rulings. Both judges and magistrates have access to computers which should help them in fulfilling their duties.
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLY MUTUNGA – SO FAR SO GOOD
As the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga puts it, “the existence of courts alone provides no guarantee of justice. Rather, it is the values and quality of the people who lead it; the aspirations and design of the Constitution that creates it; and the vigilance and civic consciousness of the people who continuously demand better.”
Chief Justice Mutunga has so far proved that he is a man of his word and that indeed the controversial stud that he dons, has nothing to do with how he performs his duties bestowed to him by the constitution of Kenya. The Kenya Forum wishes him well, which is not to say we won’t be keeping our eye on him!
Change of plan… Next Kenya Forum posting coming tomorrow!: Who will run with Raila?