Normal operations at the Mombasa Law Courts were paralyzed Wednesday morning with staff forced into a crisis meeting following the death of one of the magistrates stationed at the court.
Mombasa Principal Magistrate Elvis Michieka, who was the presiding magistrate at court number 12 which is often the one where suspects take plea, died on Wednesday morning while receiving treatment at Nairobi’s Karen Hospital.
A statement authored by Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) Secretary General Derrick Kuto, confirmed the death of Michieka saying his body has since been transferred to Montezuma Funeral Home.
“We have lost a brother, a friend and a diligent colleague. He is an irreplaceable pillar. I wish to convey our condolences to the family and friends. Let’s pray for all of us that God gives us strength to withstand this loss. I will keep you posted on all developments.” Read part of the statement.
In mourning Michieka, chief justice David Maraga described the deceased as a devoted judicial officer who rendered his services to the people of Kenya with exceptional diligence and dedication. “Just last month, he was interviewed for promotion and had been awaiting the results of the exercise.” Maraga noted.
The death of the magistrate comes as the judiciary struggles with increased workload as it struggles to dispense with pending cases amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The judiciary has put in place elaborate mechanisms including virtual hearing of cases as well as scaling down its operations as part of efforts aimed at cushioning its staff from contracting the virus while at the same time ensuring it serves justice to its clients.
Concern over increased exposure of Judiciary staff to the virus however remain rife amid rising cases within correctional centres as well as among the public.