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Judiciary begins expansion of Mombasa courts

COAST
By By Willis Oketch | July 19th 2012

By Willis Oketch

The Judiciary has established ten new courts in Mombasa and at the notorious Shimo la Tewa Prison where Chief Justice Willy Mutunga was jailed as a political dissident in the early1980s.

A magistrate has already been posted to the new court, which was opened by the CJ on Tuesday afternoon.

Mombasa has a population of about million people served by seven High Court judges, ten magistrates and two kadhis. The kadhis arbitrate Muslim personal law while the other judicial officers oversee over 200,000 civil and criminal cases in a highly litigious society every year, occasioning a huge backlog.

Mutunga said the new court in the prison would decongest the law courts in Mombasa and Kilifi by serving residents of Bamburi, Kiembeni and Mtwapa.

He said it was unacceptable to have 2,542 convicts and 800 remandees at the crowded prison without adequate judicial services. Most of the convicts have appealed their convictions at the Mombasa Law Courts and complain bitterly about delays.

Remote areas

At the same time, five more judges will be posted to Mombasa to bring the number of High Court judges to 12, according to the Law Society of Kenya.

LSK branch chairman Eric Nyongesa disclosed on Wednesday that the local bar is involved in the reforms and has been informed of the impending expansion of the courts to include three permanent Court of Appeal Judges.

By the end of the year, he said, Mombasa will have 25 magistrates up from ten and added that by mid next year judicial officers will be posted to Malindi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta.

Mutunga who received complaints from death row inmates, piracy suspects and petty crimes offenders announced that new courts will be built in Lodwar, Wajir and Mandera to foster administration of justice in arid and remote areas.


 

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