Saturday, August 23, 2008

Judges Should Sign Performance Contracts

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Justice Minister Martha Karua insist that judges and magistrates should sign performance contracts whereas the Chief Justice Evans Gicheru and other senior members of the bench contend that such a move will undermine judicial independence in Kenya.

The spirited opposition to performance contracting by the Chief Justice and his colleagues displays a lack of conceptual understanding of the process. A performance contract is basically an agreement involving the government and a state entity which outlines the broad objectives for that entity, lays down goals for quantifying productivity, and offers incentives for accomplishing these targets. Judicial independence is a legal dictum; it warrants that the decisions of the judiciary are impartial and exempt from manipulation by the other arms of government or by private and political interests.

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