Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Musa Kika says the independence of the judiciary and equality before the law, not over-emphasis on the use of information communication technology (ICT), are important in fostering a democratic society.
Kika was reacting to Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s State Of the Judiciary Address (SOJA) delivered on Monday to mark the opening of the 2022 legal year.
In his SOJA, Malaba said the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) was invaluable to enhance access to the justice system and buttress the rule of law.
However, Kika argued that by emphasizing the new e-filing system, Malaba ignored real issues affecting the country’s justice delivery system as ICT alone cannot be the anchor to the rule of law. Said Kika:
Thus, while the development of a culture of efficiency in the administration of justice is crucial, the enhancement, growth or enhancement, efficacy, and long-term survival of the rule of law in a constitutional democracy cannot be sustained by digitisation alone.
The importance of fostering public confidence in the sanctity and independence of the judiciary is what is more important.
The efficiency of the justice delivery system should also be guaranteed to safeguard the rights of a citizen through appointment and independence of the Judiciary.
Of the three branches of government, it is the Judiciary that carries the greatest burden to ensure that rule of law prevails. The rule of law is the hallmark of any civilized and democratic society.