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CJ Koome Commends County in Promoting Alternative Justice System

The Chief Justice (CJ) Martha Koome has commended the great working relationship between the Eldoret Law Courts and the Uasin Gishu County Government in ensuring citizens get easy access to justice through the Alternative Justice System (AJS) in Court Annexed Mediation, whereby people sit down as families and relations to solve disputes amicably.

Koome who is the chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), lauded the county as not only being a home of champions in sports but also in justice and environmental protection.

She pointed out that justice is not a stand-alone service as it cuts across all of us when we want to experience fairness; it is no longer a preserve of the judiciary and lawyers but also for the county and national governments and the people at the grass roots.

“We are here to celebrate the great working relationship that the Eldoret law courts have had with the county government of Uasin Gishu and other stakeholders. And indeed, this is the leading court in terms of collaboration and cooperation, and that is what we are supposed to do according to our constitution,” she said.

CJ Koome said that AJS has done great in terms of delivering justice and that through it, people are empowered to know and claim their rights and how to solve their own problems because they know how those problems came about, especially with family matters.

She revealed that most of the cases causing backlogs in courts are family succession cases and noted that it would be easier if the family members themselves sat down and listened to each other in order to solve the issues between them without necessarily taking them to court.

“Most of the backlog we are having is in succession; a father died, an uncle, a mother, and other family members disagreed; we as the members of the same family should sit down and solve the issues. I have never understood why a brother and sister or a mother and children will take each other to court; it is not right,” she added.

She said that through the AJS, the judiciary is trying to build unity in families and communities when they encourage people to sit down and reason with one another.

My appeal to families is to have harmony, create peace, and create understanding in the family because when they take each other to court, that really shows that members of the family are not talking to one another. That is what is translated into disharmony in the community.

The CJ reiterated the need to include the youth and never leave them behind because they are key stakeholders as partakers of justice and fairness.

To promote access to justice, she regretted that Uasin Gishu being huge, had only one court, forcing people to travel long distances to access justice, adding that sometimes they fail to get the justice they deserve.

She assured the residents of the construction of magistrate courts in Turbo and Moiben Sub counties.

“The report I got is that Uasin Gishu, a huge county with many resources, had only one court here in Eldoret, people traverse long distances to come here in order to access justice. Justice is like any other service; no one should be subjected to the indignity of traveling distances, and even sometimes they do not get the justice they deserve,” alluded the CJ.

The CJ thanked the leadership of Eldoret law courts for working with the county government to come up with a plan to devolve judicial services. In addition, she thanked the county administration for their support in providing the necessary infrastructure.

CJ Koome noted that magistrate courts in Turbo and Moiben will oversee the Alternative Justice System through court-annexed mediation, where people are encouraged to talk and solve their own problems, especially family cases in succession and land matters, and when they enter into an agreement, it is brought to court, where it is adopted as the judgment of the court.

She revealed that they have presented to parliament all the 290 constituencies with areas where there’s a need to open a magistrate court.

In regard to tree planting, she alluded that we are planting trees to foster eternity in the protection of our environment and enhance environmental justice through the Kenyan Land and Environmental Courts to spearhead efforts to address climate change.

“Kenya judiciary is also celebrated as the only one in Africa with a specialized court that deals with land and environment that was established with the Constitution of Kenya 2010, and other jurisdictions are coming here to benchmark and learn from us how we are able to establish specialized land and environment courts,” said CJ Koome.

CJ Koome lauded the Uasin Gishu judiciary team for being focused and forbearing the vision of the judiciary, the social transformation through access to justice, and for themselves becoming part and parcel of the transformational journey of our constitution that requires us to work with everybody and always listen to our people so that we can provide solutions to their claims.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Chelilim acknowledged the CJ’s efforts in ensuring justice is accessed by the residents of Uasin Gishu, noting that the county has many cases dealing with land and that through AJS, the people will be able to get justice on time instead of waiting for a long time due to backlogs in court.

He affirmed his administration’s commitment to work together with the judiciary through the provision of the necessary infrastructure to enhance easy access to justice for the people.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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