Injustice tops complaints to ombudsman

November 21, 2011 3:31 pm


The PCSC managed to resolve 1,821 complaints/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The outgoing Public Complaints Standing Committee (PCSC) on Monday released a report highlighting over 4,000 grievances raised by Kenyans against public institutions between the years 2007 and 2011.

The report, which was handed over to the newly appointed Commission on Administrative Justice, recorded 4,264 complaints from Kenyans and had concerns of injustice topping the list. Delays and maladministration came in second and third respectively, among the concerns raised.

Nairobi region had the highest number of complaints recording 22.1 percent while North Eastern had the least.

Outgoing PCSC chairman James Simani noted that his committee had managed to resolve 1,821 complaints and that remedial action had been taken on the outstanding ones.

“People were saying that we didn’t have teeth because they expected us to get hold of all senior officers who were maltreating Kenyans and lock them up. But our approach was always to resolve the problem in a friendly manner,” he said.

Moreover only 18 percent of the complaints raised were issued by women while 75 percent were raised by men. Another seven percent were issued by groups.

Simani also challenged the Commission on Administrative Justice to ensure that persons found guilty of infringing on Kenyans’ rights were prosecuted noting that the incoming commission now had prosecutorial powers.

Newly appointed chairman Otiende Amollo added that his team would not only prosecute such persons but also seek legal redress on behalf of any wronged Kenyans.

“All sovereign authority in this country belongs to the people. That authority is then delegated to public officers; it is therefore expected that those public officers will respect the very people who gave them that authority,” he said.

“If they fail, then this commission will take up any such complaints and ensure those responsible are held to account,” he warned.

Amollo also criticised the recent government-sanctioned demolitions that have seen Kenyans lose property worth millions. He argued that the demolitions were illegal and against the spirit of the Constitution noting that they did not follow proper procedure.

“It is clearly unreasonable to evict citizens without regard to new notice or place of alternative accommodation. This action falls short of the open and democratic society envisioned by the Constitution,” he argued.

He added that his committee would create awareness on its mandate so as to ensure that administrative justice was facilitated across the board.

He also said that his committee would open up offices in each county.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo noted that the commission would help save tax payers’ money as well as lives by ensuring that the resolution of disputes was fast tracked.

“If we had known that we had other avenues for solving issues other than the courts or the police, while at the same time ensuring that the rights of Kenyans, who walk into government offices, are protected then a lot of lives would be saved,” he argued.

Justice Permanent Secretary Gichira Kibara also assured the incoming team of the government’s support noting that it was an independent institution.


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