, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 26 – ‘See you in court!” A statement often made in haste and anger; the parting shot when disputes come to a head and one or both parties feels aggrieved and unable to find an amicable solution to the disagreement at hand.
At this point, lawyers are called, instructions are given and parties dig in for the long haul. In a country like Kenya, where the justice system is painfully slow; three … four years down the line many of the parties are worn out, financially drained and the end is still not in sight.
What if they’d known about mediation?
Accredited Mediators Munene Waruhiu and Mercy Okiro talk about the basic tenets of this alternative method of dispute resolution.
Article 159(2)(c) of the Constitution of Kenya recognizes mediation and encourages it as a form of dispute resolution to be applied by courts. In April 2016, the Judiciary launched court annexed mediation on a pilot basis covering the Family and Commercial divisions of Milimani High Court.
Ms. Okiro who is also a lawyer says – rather than imposing a decision, a trained mediator applies communication skills, objectivity, and creativity to help disputants reach their own voluntary solution to the conflict.
Mediation is also a relatively fast and inexpensive means of resolving disputes. Mr Munene says it’s often smart to start with this fairly inexpensive process before turning to litigation.