Kenya’s Chief Justice, Martha Koome, has described corruption as a national disgrace.
Ms Koome told the BBC that she was worried that cases involving corruption and theft of public money were taking too long to be prosecuted.
Corruption allegations have long dogged the courts.
Philomena Mwilu, the second-most senior judge, is on trial for suspected abuse of power and bribery.
She is adamantly opposed to any wrongdoing.
Chief Justice Koome said that trust in the judiciary has eroded and that she was focused on providing Kenyans with an institution in which they can have faith and that is relevant to them.
“Everyone claims to despise corruption, so how has it persisted? It’s a national issue “She said.
The 61-year-old was chosen by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May after finishing first out of ten applicants questioned live on television by Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC). She is the country’s first female president.
She also mentioned her rural childhood in a polygamous household as her mother’s seventh child during the conversation.
“Growing up in the village brought out the best in me,” she said.
She said that after finishing first in her class, she was encouraged to pursue law. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Ms Koome also discussed repairing relationships with the administration, which had deteriorated after the Supreme Court nullified Mr Kenyatta’s win in August of that year, alleging irregularities. The court ordered a re-election, which Mr Kenyatta won despite an opposition boycott.
Since then, the judiciary has complained about budget cutbacks designed to weaken its operations, while the president has ignored court rulings and delayed the appointment of new justices.
She said that it was on to both branches of government to work together to correct the situation.
“It’s similar to a three-legged stool. If you weaken one of the legs, the stool will collapse. When discussing an effective governance structure, the judiciary must be included “She said.
She also advocated for additional judges to be hired in order to decrease the chronic backlog of cases, particularly those involving land disputes.
She said that with an additional 20 judges, there would be no more cases that lasted more than three years.
The top justice assured Kenyans that the judiciary is ready for next year’s presidential elections, saying the courts would be impartial in addressing electoral issues.