Anne Amadi is the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

| Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Anne Amadi bows out of Judiciary

In an emotional presentation of the achievements and growth of the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ), which she has served as secretary for the past decade, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Anne Amadi, bid her colleagues an early farewell on Tuesday.

Soon she will be leaving the dance floor where she has eruditely worn two big hats through thick and thin, always dodging missiles aimed at her, the person, and at her, an entity representing the Judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman.

The past decade has been a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly, Ms Amadi admitted. Nevertheless, she will go home a happy person, thanks to the growth of her fledgling baby, the NCAJ, which, pending parliamentary approval, could soon be established as an independent body, separate from the judiciary.

While highlighting the Ombudsman's achievements over the past year, the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary recalled how far the Council had come.

"For me, this report is in many ways a celebration of my ten years as Secretary of the NCAJ. I have seen the NCAJ grow and transform before my very eyes over the past ten years," she said.

From a Council with only three staff members; herself as secretary, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chief Justice, who was also the Executive Director of the NCAJ, and another person employed by the International Development Law Organisation to assist the Chief of Staff in managing the affairs of the NCAJ. They worked out of a small office on the ground floor of the Supreme Court building, just two doors down from their current office.

Their situation was so difficult that they could not produce their annual report as required by law.

"Instead, the annual report on the state of the judiciary and the administration of justice was produced in collaboration with NCAJ agencies, with chapters devoted to what these agencies had done to advance the course of justice," she said.

But now, the Council has grown by leaps and bounds. Its secretariat has grown from three to 25 staff members and has a full-time substantive executive director.

It currently has 12 working committees, with the number of court users' committees growing from 50 to 260 across the country. The Council also currently has its own offices from which it runs its operations.

"I am so proud that the NCAJ has the capacity to publish its report separately from that of the judiciary. I will soon be leaving this role with my head held high, proud that my successor will have much more to work with and build on," she said.

Her biggest regret is that government funding does not come close to meeting the Council's needs, something that greatly hinders it from reaching its full potential. 

"I leave the stage richer in spirit, deeply humbled by the trust that the people of Kenya have placed in me, hoping that we have lived up to your expectations, thanking all those who held our hands and enabled us to carry out this onerous mandate,”

"I leave with mixed feelings. On the one hand, with a sense of pride and satisfaction at the work we have been able to do together, but also with an overwhelming sense of loss. Through this Council, we have cultivated deep personal relationships and I will miss the time we have spent together, both on and off the job, and I hope that our friendships will outlive this," she emotionally concluded.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, chairperson of the NCAJ, paid glowing tribute to the outgoing council secretary, who she said had had a remarkable career, beginning with service to the judiciary as a magistrate before venturing into private practice to help the vulnerable as legal director of FIDA.

"We are grateful for the service you have rendered to this country and to see NCAJ from nothing when it was established with no infrastructure, no human resources and no money to where it is today.

"I wish you all the best and pray that God will open other avenues and opportunities for you to continue to serve these people and your reward will be in heaven," said CJ Koome.