, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 24 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga says 95 percent of Kenyans are seeking alternative dispute resolution mechanisms rather than going to courts.
He says as much as avoiding courts is helping deal with case backlog in the justice system, lack of access to the institutions is a major attributing factor.
Mutunga was speaking during the Milimani Law Court user’s committee open day where he also pointed out that some avoid courts because of expenses and problematic court process.
“I will be the first person to agree that there are some people who do not see us as the only forum for the administration of justice and that’s why they go to Kadhis, to the elders and chiefs,” he stated.
“They do that because the adversarial system in the court is problematic for some people. If you have a case with our brother in any of the courts you will actually cease to be brothers, it’s a fact.”
Some areas, he said do not have upper courts like in Moyale, which deny people a chance to seek court services.
“In Moyale for example, when you want to lodge an appeal against a decision in Moyale, you have to go to Meru and if it is raining, it will take you seven days,” he pointed out.
“We ask that we get more money to build courts, you guys (media) just keep quiet. Why can’t you have a great demonstration… you can hire the services of Boniface Mwangi (activists) and you march to Parliament and make sure we get money to build courts where they are supposed to be.”
He pointed out that the Judiciary was however working, “with elders like in Isiolo so that they comply with the Constitution in dealing with some cases.”
The Chief Justice however assured the public that reforms were ongoing in the sector which is set to enhance delivery of justice.
Deputy Director Directorate of Criminal Investigation Gideon Kimilu asked criminal justice institutions to work in unity as a way of assuring justice to victims of crime.
“Police officers are the frontline officers in the criminal justice system…they are the ones who mainly initiate matters of criminal, investigation, prosecution and trial in court,” he pointed out.
“Those institutions of the criminal justice system must be efficient and effective. They must give timely service. Any of them that is not up to standards, will affect the rest.”
He said these institutions must also priorities issues of security more so now that cases of crime have been on the rise.
“The level of violence globally and locally is going up. When you see a person carrying a machete you may think he is going to farm but they are now going to police stations and political meetings to attack people,” he said. “We must up our game and make sure we ensure home security for our people.”
He was refereeing to a man who was shot dead on Tuesday after he slashed a policeman with a machete outside Nairobi’s Central police station.
When the attacker – who was armed with a machete and knife, cut the officer – the policeman dashed into the station, grabbed a gun and shot him dead.
Another was in Kirinyaga County where another machete-wielding man was shot dead after attempting to attack Ndia MP Stephen Ngare.
The man was shot dead by the MP’s bodyguard who sustained injuries alongside a school head teacher.
Senior Assistant Commissioner of Kenya Prisons Wanini Kireri on her part assured that the department will ensure inmates live in humane conditions.