Chief Justice David Maraga has urged Kenyans to embrace Alternative Justice Systems ( AJS) for dispute resolution in a bid to reduce caseloads in law courts.
Maraga said the move would also help in maintaining cordial relationships among families and neighbours after justice is obtained.
Speaking at Etago in South Mugirango during the inauguration of the Etago Magistrate’s court station, the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya noted that there was no reason why succession cases ended up in court, when chiefs among other relevant persons could handle the matter.
The CJ said they would continue pushing for use of AJS, along with other initiatives that improve access to justice and particularly faster and easier resolution of disputes.
Maraga decried numerous land disputes in Kisiii County where land matters were emotive due to land scarcity, saying they contributed to 80 percent of the crime cases in the region.
The CJ said the judiciary is now rolling out the Small Claims Courts where matters involving disputes of a value not exceeding Sh1million would be heard and determined.
The Small Claims Act, for example, places a restriction on the number of times adjournments were allowed to no more than three times hence the time spent before cases are determined.
He said the Etago court brings to 128 the number of magistrates’ courts adding that the judiciary intends to have a High Court station in each of the 47 counties and a magistrate’s court in each of the 290 sub-counties.
The CJ appealed to Governor James Ongwae to set half an acre land in each sub county for the setting up of court stations saying it would help bring service closer to the people.
Ongwae applauded the CJ for the court which is the one of the new 20 court stations gazetted by the CJ across the country two weeks ago and appealed for construction of a municipal court to deal with county issues.
The Etago court will be headed by Senior Resident Magistrate Paul Wechuli. Initially, Etago residents were served by the Ogembo Court station which is about 30 kilometres away.
The High Courts are in Isiolo, Kwale, Vihiga and Nandi, while the other magistrates’ courts are in Ol-Kalou, Madiany, Zombe, Port Victoria, Borabu, Kendu Bay, Wamunyu, Malaba, Matiliku, Usigu, Kasarani, Masinga, Manga, Tinderet, Kenol and Rumuruti.
By Clinton Nyamumbo/ Jane Naitore