Star (Kenya)

Jan. 09, 2017, 12:00 am

The judiciary./MONICAH MWANGI
The judiciary./MONICAH MWANGI

The latest graft disclosures in the Judiciary, in which it is alleged a clerk and secretary to a High Court judge were caught with cash totalling more than Sh1 million, underscores just how complicated the war on corruption is.

This unfortunate incident is a painful reminder of a reality that points to a general collapse in the war on corruption in this country.

The war on graft in the Judiciary is not isolated from the national war on corruption that has been waged in the recent past.

For effective war on corruption to be waged, we need all the three arms of government working in sync: This is because, for effective delivery of service, these arms of the state must interact.

For example, if the Executive decided to fight corruption to the exclusion of either the Judiciary or Legislature, the likelihood is that the other two will sabotage such an endeavour.

Much as the Judiciary is an independent arm of government, judicial officers do not have the individual independence to immunize themselves from corruption.

Corruption erodes the independence of our courts. Most judicial officers do not want an independent Judiciary because it reins in their desire to be corrupt.

A wholesome effort is necessary, but the challenge comes once it is clear that society worships the beneficiaries of corrupt dealings. Rather than become an expensive, nauseating enterprise, more people are being attracted to this enterprise because it provides one with the ‘sweet’ opportunity of scaling the economic ladder.

Retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga tried to wage this complex war during his tenure, but from the look of things the Judiciary is back to being its former true self.

These latest disclosures suggest that corruption is still in full swing in the same arm of government that is supposed to fight it without any reservations.

The tragedy in all this is that, as bad as these events are, the Judiciary has not a single person with the fire in the belly who can lead the war on corruption and so effectively.

What is needed is a person who can cultivate respect among peers and instill fear in errant judicial officers.

We need a Fred Matiang’i, the Education CS who has made the entrenched examination cheating cartels howl with pain.

All eyes are on Chief Justice Maraga.

Lempaa is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya