Several new commissions recommended to address more needs

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Former Meru Woman Representative Florence Kajuju’s was named chairperson of the CAJ popularly known as the Ombudsman. Photo/PD/FILE

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) recommends the establishment of a number of commissions to address the needs of Kenyans.

Key among them is the Health Service Commission (HSC), which will handle health workers in all hospitals (see separate story).

The report also seeks the establishment of the Judicial Ombudsman who will represent the public in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Already, a bill that seeks for the creation of the post of the Judiciary Ombudsman to handle public complaints against the Judiciary has gone through the first Reading in parliament.

The team says that the proposal to establish the Ombudsman office be enacted in one year’s time.

Currently, the Judiciary has an Ombudsman, under the office of the Chief Justice but is a merely administrative office headed by the Deputy Chief Justice with a slogan” the ear of the Judiciary.”

If adopted, the position will not only be entrenched in the Constitution, but the Ombudsman will sit in the JSC as a representative of the public.

The move is meant to cure concerns thought the President nominates two individuals to represent the public to the commission, they are largely beholden to the Executive.

To create room for the Ombudsman, the Supreme Court representative will be withdrawn from the JSC.

There has been an argument that with the chief justice, his deputy, a judge of the Supreme Court sitting in the JSC, the institution was overrepresented.

The report is also rooting for the creation of the position of Special Magistrates and Judges to deal with the most grievous cases of drug trafficking, corruption, terrorism, and other serious criminal offences and make special security arrangements for  these magistrates and judges to be provided for by the State.

Ombudsman in JSC

The powers of the JSC to discipline judges, the report states, should be expanded so that the Commission can legally deal with lesser disciplinary offences by judges that affect the  value of justice delivered without resulting to the Constitutional  measure of removal from office.

“The office of the Judiciary Ombudsman should be strengthened to make it more responsive to the people and accountable to it and also be revamped and made more accessible and responsive to the public,” states the report. 

The report seeks the establishment of a Ward Development Fund to be established for each ward.

The fund will be paid in each financial year at least five percent of the all the county governments revenue in each financial year.

Ward development

“The fund shall be used only for development expenditure. Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for the management of the fund and criteria for disbursement of the funds to each ward in the county,” explains the team.

The report also seeks the establishment of a Youth Commission consisting of  a chairperson, six members with equal representation of both genders, at least four of whom shall be youth.

 “The functions of the commission will be to advance the participation of the youth in all spheres of public and private life and ensure the mainstreaming of the youth perspectives in planning and decision making,” the team writes.

To address the thorny issue of pending Bills which have been blamed for crippling business of those supplying to the government, the BBI team proposes the establishment of the Public Invoices Tribunal.

The tribunal will serve as an arbiter to address the dispute between the national and county governments and aggrieved suppliers.

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