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Elders form Kaya cultural law court

By Nehemiah Okwemba | September 12th 2020 at 11:45:00 GMT +0300

Abdalla Mnyenze a Mijikenda Kaya Elder from Kaya Kinondo conduct rituals before officially launching the new traditional court which was opened by George Kithi -in Stripes shirt- at Magarini cultural centre on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard].

Kaya elders have started a traditional court to fit in the wave of alternative dispute resolution avenues advocated for by Chief Justice David Maraga.

The ‘Kambi ya Kiama’ court at Magarini Cultural Centre will help resolve clan disputes, ease grudges and animosity among family members besides reducing the backlog in mainstream courts.

''A non-Mijikenda judge will hardly rule justly on a matter pertaining to Mijikenda land rights, Talaka disputes among wives and husbands or even on witchcraft," said former Magarini MP Harrison Kombe, a champion of the initiative.

The court's proceedings will be conducted in the local dialect, which has historically been used by elders to resolve communal disputes and call for peaceful coexistence.

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Male and female elders dressed in full traditional regalia first conducted rituals at the cultural centre before officially unveiling the court during the annual Chenda Chenda Festival this week.

The community feared that a lack of traditional dispute resolution avenues had contributed to the killings of elderly men on allegations of practising witchcraft.

Mijikenda Kaya leader Tsuma Nzai Kombe said the court will equally handle cases related to cultural beliefs and land rights for the elderly.

The elders likened the traditional court for the Mijikenda to Kadhis courts for Muslims, saying it would help quicken justice on the social and economic family fronts.

"We are looking at a future where a person convicted by the traditional courts can appeal in other courts even up to the Supreme Court,'' said Kombe.

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