Africa: Judges hold the Aces of Justice

There is no gainsaying that the quality of the bench plays a pivotal role in the fair dispensation of justice. While we rant against prosecutorial tunnel vision; bad lawyering et al, a strong and independent bench is a sine qua non. Judges ultimately decide the ‘fate’ of an accused person. We have known for a long time that the process of appointment of judges in Africa is fraught with nepotism, incompetence; of those who are handmaids and willing tools of the executive branch of government. That situation is about to change in Kenya with the sacking of 4 senior Judges.

An independent judiciary and bench is central to the prevention of wrongful convictions and miscarriage of justice, indeed, a judge who is impervious to change, will certainly be unwilling to look at evidence, either afresh or with an open mind. I commend the lead taken by the Kenyan authorities to other African countries, particularly the Nigerian judicary that is constantly embroiled in crisis.

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