Friday, 9 November 2012

When Judicial Reforms Means Luxury Vehicles

The JSC through Justice Lenaola this week did a very strange thing. They found a way to interpret the purchase of luxury vehicles for Judges as a constitutional right.  Quoting article 160(4) of the constitution which states that the remuneration and benefits payable to, or in respect of, a judge shall not be varied to the disadvantage of the judge, the JSC thus interprets the purchase of expensive guzzlers as a constitutional right of every Judge in Kenya.

Never mind the Kwach report of 1998, this is 2012 and I mean 14 years later. This is a whole new world, where the key economic term for a developing nation such as Kenya is Sustainable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy.  With regards to the development markers of this country what in the world indicates that Kenya is the sort of country that can actually afford such expensive cars for Judges? And how is the lack of an expensive car disadvantageous to a Judge?

Why, Judges in Germany cycle to work! And I assure you that Germany has an economy that is far more capable of purchasing expensive cars for its Judges, in fact that is where those posh Mercedes Benz are made.

What is it about the big man syndrome that is so hard to excise even from seemingly intelligent people like those thronging the JSC? In the 21st Century, the need for polishing bloated legal egos with vehicles whose fuel efficiency makes them not just expensive to run, but also expensive to maintain is really a reflection of how little we have moved from the colonial regressive mindsets of the 1960s.

Talk about undeserving as well. Lest we forget that the total work output of these Judges can barely power a tricycle. I think the most aggravating statement this year from a panel of 5 of our gratuitously esteemed Judges is that they are not convinced how public interest and administration of justice will be harmed if proceedings by sacked Judges are heard. Hold the phone. Those judges were sacked because of their incompetence when handling cases and it is very much in the public interest that they are still allowed to handle cases!

How terrifying for Kenya. That judicial reforms so desperately needed in Kenya is equivalent to Judges receiving posh vehicles. No doubt, even the sacked Judge still sitting on the bench will also get a gorgeous large guzzler to mimic the gluttony of our Judiciary.

Basically, by declaring that it is mandated by our constitution to purchase these luxury vehicles, based on a 14 year old report and global trends verses Kenya’s development be damned, the JSC has proven to us all that not only are Judges immune to common sense, they are also as parasitic as ever, and there is nothing but superficiality perverse in the Judiciary.

No wonder it is a national concern that violence will mar the forth-coming elections. After all, it is mistrust of this very same judiciary that led to the post-election violence of 2007.  In the time since then there have been lots of changes to the appearance of the judiciary, cleaner, refurbished court houses, nice flowing robes, hot new hairdos, and now posh vehicles that set these judges as far apart from the average Kenyan as a monkey on its way to the moon is apart from its fellow monkeys in the forest.

Are these Judges even Kenyans? That is the question we must ask. Are they representative of the citizenry of this nation, or they simply represent stateless elites who now lord it over “subjects”.  Because when you add up all the shenanigans of our over glorified judiciary in the past year, you must admit, that the term “your Lordship” has been taken literally by these ‘learned’ fellows.

For those who have not tallied it up here is a brief run down. A Judge of the high court makes an unconstitutional ruling. A panel of 5 judges thereafter upholds the unconstitutional ruling and declares that the high court has jurisdiction over a constitutional body a matter of questionable interpretation. The same panel of Judges then declares that sacked Judges hearing cases is not detrimental to public interest despite the fact that the judges were sacked because of incompetence. Finally the JSC awards these “lords” with expensive guzzling vehicles, an ode to a colonial past that they claimed to have shaken off as they sport dashing new robes and hairstyles that they think are African.

 When the constitution is called upon to justify replacing an old Mercedes Benz with a new one in the name of not varying a judge’s benefits to the detriment of the Judge, you can tell that the “learned” fellow is not thinking. If other government officials are using Volkswagen Passats, which are just as prestigious as the Mercedes Benz, what makes these judges so special that they must have luxury vehicles? Finally, only a very narrow minded type of reprobate thinks of a name and label as prestigious more than his country and yet is in public service.

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