The Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Wetang’ula has decried the unsuccessful prosecution of high-profile cases by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP).
Speaking during a meeting with the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions, Renson Mulele Igonga, Wetang’ula expressed concerns about high-profile arrests receiving extensive media attention but not leading to successful prosecutions, thus undermining the credibility of the ODPP.
The Speaker who Wednesday hosted the DPP in his office at the Parliament buildings, urged him to prioritize effective and quality prosecution while emphasising the crucial role of ODPP in upholding the rule of law.
He further highlighted that the ODPP plays a pivotal role in maintaining order and justice in the nation by utilizing the laws passed by Parliament to prosecute individuals without bias, regardless of their standing.
“We live in separated spheres of influence under the constitution. You prosecute the good, the bad and the ugly in equal measure,” said the Speaker even as he congratulated Mr. Igonga on his well-deserved eight-year appointment.
On his part, the DPP raised issues on their financial challenges, disclosing that the office operates with a budget of only Ksh3.5 billion, which falls short of the demands placed upon them.
The office is understaffed and faces low morale.
The Speaker urged the DPP to work closely with parliament especially the budget Committee to advocate for increased resources and better working conditions for his team.
“We need to be at par with the Judiciary. We are understaffed and we need to have enough prosecutors but we have been unable to hire due to budget constraints. We operate with a budget of Kes. 3.5 billion,” said Mr. Igonga.
The Speaker advised the DPP that if his office encounters inconsistencies in the law, they have the right to request the Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly to consider repealing or amending the laws to ensure fairness and justice.
The Majority Whip Silvanus Osoro, emphasized the need for Mr. Igonga to make a significant impact during his tenure, especially in corruption cases by ensuring thorough prosecutions are done.
He stressed the importance of avoiding a situation where small offenders are imprisoned while major culprits evade justice and pledged his support.
Ugenya lawmaker David Ochieng, acknowledged the critical role played by the Speaker’s office and the Departmental Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs in strengthening the office of public prosecutions.
He called for a vigorous approach to dealing with corruption and influential figures.
The Clerk of the National Assembly Mr. Samuel Njoroge assured his support on parliamentary matters requiring intervention and encouraged collaboration with other institutions to prevent past challenges, especially regarding bills.
In conclusion, the Speaker stressed the independence of the ODPP and the necessity of maintaining high-quality prosecutions, emphasizing that the quality of prosecutors is evident in the thoroughness and quality of their work.