, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Have Kenyans become too litigious? Or just more aware of their rights … Are they trouping to the courts at the drop of a hat? … Going to seek justice or refuge as in the case of anticipatory bail …
The above scenario is, however, the preserve the few who can afford the process of taking legal action.
Mediation as an avenue for resolving disputes is gaining traction in the corridors of justice as the Judiciary tries to shake off accusations of denying Kenyans justice because it is often delayed which also makes it expensive.
Anglican Church of Kenya Arch-Bishop, Jackson Ole Sapit has commended the Judiciary for the introduction of court-annexed mediation noting that it is expected to ease access to justice and save Kenyans time and money that would otherwise be spent in the formal a formal litigation process.
Disputes are as old as mankind said the Archbishop, “But they need not sound the death knell to relationships because people and institutions can be reconciled through faith-based and church-based mediation as well a court-mandated mediation.”
He criticised the handling of cases emanating from last year’s General Election saying the courts handed petition losers stiff penalties that would make it difficult for the two competitors to work together after the dust has settled.
“With an enhanced mediation system in place, we can be able to resolve a lot of issues and reconcile this nation to itself instead of creating sharp divisions t the end of every election cycle.” said the Archbishop.
He was the Chief Guest at the formal launch of the Dispute & Conflict Resolution International mediation training calendar for the year 2018 at the All Saints Cathedral. DCRI which is head by Justice Lee Muthoga is involved in offering mediation and dispute resolution services, peacebuilding and training.
“DCRI recognizes that in order for the Judiciary to be enabled to use mediation to reduce its backlog comprising of thousands of cases, it is necessary that many more mediators be trained, not only in Nairobi but also elsewhere in the country,” said Justice Muthoga.
“In addition to training Certified Professional Mediators and Faith/Church Based Mediators, DCRI is also training workplace mediation in various corporate entities that wish to manage workplace conflicts to avoid the losses that these conflicts occasion. We are aware that there are many corporates struggling with the problem of conflict in the workplace which cannot be appropriately resolved through disciplinary mechanisms or litigation,” explained Muthoga.
Also at the launch, Moses Wanjala the Registrar of the Mediation Accreditation Committee at the Judiciary said, “The Kenyan judicial system is making great strides in its endeavour to ensure that justice is served to all expeditiously and in the shortest time possible.”
As more mediators are trained, Wanjala said his office is supporting and fast-tracking their accreditation. Article 159 of the Constitution mandates the Judiciary to promote alternative mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the administration of justice and the courts have embrace mediation within this framework.
Wanjala urged used the occasion to urge the public to make use of this court-mandated mediation services.