Justice Kenani Maraga has been sworn in as the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya here.

The swearing in ceremony was conducted by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Anne Amadi, Wednesday.

Speaking after witnessing the swearing-in at State House Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the Executive was keen to partner with the Judiciary in ensuring Kenyans received efficient services.

President Kenyatta noted that in the last five years Kenyans had witnessed changes in the Judiciary but he added that the reforms would be meaningless unless Kenyans received quick and effective judicial services.

“Yes, we have seen dramatic judgments, but at the same time we must say we have witnessed major weaknesses that exist in the Judiciary,” said the President.

He observed that at the moment there are 20,000 Kenyans languishing in cells because of delayed judgments in courts, saying that is costing both the taxpayer and the victim’s precious time and resources which could be channeled to other economic activities.

“These Kenyans are told their files are lost or some other excuse when they appear in court. It costs us to feed them and keep them in cells,” added the President, who expressed concern that although the Executive had increased resources to institutions charged with the responsibility of delivering justice to Kenyans, little could be shown for those resources.

He said currently there are 680 corruption cases in court, some of which had taken more than three years without being concluded.

“Today, the Judiciary has (an allocation of) 17 billion shillings (one US dollar = about 101 shillings), Director of Public Prosecution Ksh 2.2 billion, Auditor General Ksh 4.4 billion, Judicial Service Commission Ksh 450 million, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Ksh 1.7 billion the multi-agency formed to deal with corruption cases Ksh 2.7 and yet there is nothing to show for the money they got,” President Kenyatta said.

He urged the incoming Chief Justice to take deliberate steps to speed up conclusion of cases so as to restore the confidence of Kenyans in the Judiciary. The Judiciary should avoid being used by corrupt cartels in scuttling the government’s development agenda, saying it was unfortunate that most people who fail to get government contracts are quick to run to courts where they are issued with injunctions stopping the process of giving services to Kenyans.

He pointed out that while the judiciary is an independent institution it needs to speed up its processes to ensure fairness to all.

Justice Maraga pledged to improve service delivery in the justice sector by among other things eliminating corruption within its ranks, reducing the backlog of cases and automating court proceedings.

“I will aspire to enhance access to justice for all and improve performance and accountability within the Judiciary,” he said.