Historic African Court in Lodwar to serve as alternative justice systems suite

Chief Justice Martha Koome joins Turkana locals in a dance as she inaugurates the ‘Ekukwo A Ateni’ Alternative Justice Systems suite at the historic African Court building in Lodwar. [Bakari Ang'ela, Standard]

The historic African Court in Lodwar will serve as the Alternative Justice Systems suite, as the Judiciary embraces a multi-door approach to delivery of justice.

While launching the Ekukwo a Ateni AJS suite yesterday, Chief Justice Martha Koome said traditional justice mechanism was not merely offering an alternative, but was a way of celebrating Kenya’s heritage.

The CJ has been in Turkana County to launch new courts and e-filing centres since Tuesday.

‘’The AJS offers more than just a resolution to disputes. It offers reconciliation; looks beyond the symptoms and addresses the very roots of conflicts, ensuring a harmonious society,” said Koome.

She acknowledged that Turkana residents have long upheld these traditions, and urged them to view the AJS suite as a symbol of the Judiciary’s commitment to preserve and promote this wisdom. “Embrace it, not as a new initiative but as a tribute to our age-old values and practices,” she said.

The CJ also maintained that the e-filing of cases will give locals opportunity to file cases electronically from the comfort of their homes.

She asked judicial officers to implement the e-filing initiative, saying it was a transformation agenda that would give Kenyans in remote areas equal access to justice.

Justice Isaac Lenaola said e-filing will eliminate corruption by ending the culture where some magistrates and judges allocate cases to themselves for unclear reasons.

“One of the problems in the Judiciary has been corruption. The e-system allocates cases to magistrates and judges randomly. It also brings transparency because everyone else will track cases on the digital platform,” Lenaola said.

The Supreme Court judge said the new system would also eliminate missing files. “The litigant and lawyer will, through the e-filing system, have the file. There will be no cases of files disappearing from court files,” said Justice Lenaola.

Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi said construction of the court in Lodwar will be completed this year.

“I call on elected leaders to support efforts to expand infrastructure in the Judiciary,” she said.

Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai urged the Judiciary to set up a magistrate courts in all six sub-counties.

The governor promised to provide land for construction of courts, saying locals were travelling long distances to seek judicial services in Lodwar.