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Judiciary roots for mediation in addressing Baringo banditry

Residents of Baringo County have been urged to embrace the mediation process as an alternative route to addressing banditry amongst other issues jeopardizing ongoing peace efforts.

Speaking during a sensitization exercise on Court Annexed Mediation (CAM) for court users’ committee members and the public at Kabarnet Law Court grounds on Wednesday, Justice Rachel Ngetich underscored the need for residents to intervene in disputes before spiraling into the community.

Ngetich who later presided over the official opening of the CAM registry pointed out that disputes being handled by a mediator took less time to be settled and came along with increased satisfaction therefore resulting in peaceful coexistence.

She stated that it was during the mediation process that aggrieved parties could talk in a guided manner and in turn get amicable solutions.

“Both parties in most cases emerge as winners through mediation thus we are encouraging all residents to embrace this form of dispute resolution mechanism,” the Presiding Judge said.

County Probation Director Daniel Too noted that cattle rustling, often associated with the scramble of inadequate grazing fields and water points, was a big problem that needed to be urgently tackled by qualified mediators to avoid instances of backlash amongst warring communities.

While urging for a shift from such retrogressive cultural practices Too noted that the challenge was negatively impacting on development and progression of the affected region.

“Let us not be left out as a county but embrace at all times mediation whenever we face disagreements in our respective communities,” he said.

Kabarnet Law courts head of station Purity Koskey called for more mediators in the county to reduce the over 870 pending cases at the magistrate courts.

Koskey, who revealed that the Kabarnet court has a backlog of 529, 111, and 108 pending criminal, civil, and land cases respectively, explained that litigants in the mediation process have a chance to have a negotiated settlement in matters that were not necessarily prosecutable in the corridors of justice.

She urged residents to develop a culture of dialogue on pertinent issues within the community to promote peace and cohesion.

CAM Secretariat Representative Clifford Omondi, who has been in the county for one-week training staff and court users lauded the locals for accepting the mediation process which he said is offering homegrown solutions to a wide range of community disputes.

Omondi stated that the process is also crucial in addressing some of the pertinent issues like land successions which if left unresolved are likely to recur in the future thus causing disharmony amongst family members.

By Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet

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