The Chief Justice (CJ), David Maraga has said his arm of the government is onboard to deliver services closer to the people and is committed to ensuring that properly equipped law courts are established at the grassroots.
“The construction of sufficient buildings for establishment of law courts in all the sub-counties in the country requires more than Sh.5 billion from the national treasury each year and I call on the elected leaders at all levels of government to support our noble initiative,” said the CJ.
Speaking during the official opening of the World Bank funded Sh.98 million newly constructed Chuka Law courts in Tharaka Nithi county on Wednesday, Justice Maraga further called on the area residents to embrace alternative dispute resolution to avoid unnecessary lengthy and expensive legal battles.
“We call upon the executive arm of the government to partner with the judiciary in empowering the council of elders to lead in negotiations and arbitration over minor cases involving families including land successions to avoid lengthy and expensive legal battles that at times delay justice,” said the CJ.
Justice Maraga who is also the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya further disclosed that the newly constructed Chuka Law Courts building will continue serving as the High Court for Tharaka Nithi county as the judiciary constructs a more centralized High Court at Kathwana which is the county headquarters.
While, congratulating the Chuka Environment and Land Court (ELC) Judge P.M. Njoroge for being able to conclude most of the land cases that are happening in the county, the CJ asked the church leaders together with the elders to work on drugs and illicit brew cases which seems to be increasing in Tharaka Nithi county.
“Let us congratulate the ELC presiding judge who has been able to tackle the land cases very fast which is expected by the court, however, we have a big problem in this county concerning illicit brews and drug abuse,” noted Justice Maraga.
Speaking during the event the Chuka High Court Judge, Justice Robert Limo called on the judiciary to establish a magistrate court at Kathangacini which is in the extreme part of Tharaka North Sub-county from where residents travel for more than 80 kilometers to Marimanti magistrate courts to seek legal redress.
Justice Limo also echoed the need to utilize the Meru Council of Elders ‘Njuri Ncheke’ to solve family issues to avoid wastage of resources besides calling on the judiciary to digitize filing in the existing courts in order to be in tandem with the prevailing information technology.
The need to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms was further acknowledged by the County Commissioner, Ms. Beverly Opwora who further disclosed her commitment to work with the judiciary to ensure that there is effective and efficient justice to Tharaka Nithi residents.
The Tharaka Nithi County Governor, Muthomi Njuki who was at the event disclosed that the county government has already allocated land for the construction of a High court at the county headquarters at Kathwana.
Others present were the Tharaka and Chuka Igambang’ombe Members of Parliament, Gitonga Murugara and Patrick Munene respectively who called on their constituents to embrace the courts with Munene, adding that the courts are here to enforce the law and not to intimidate them with jail terms.
The Chuka Law Courts were established at the height of the ‘Mau Mau’ rebellion by the colonial government in June 1956 to ‘tame’ the freedom fighters.
By David Mutwiri/Monicah Nyagah