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County courts in Kenya illegal

By The Standard | Jun 23rd 2016 | 1 min read

The abolition of county courts is something that should have happened yesterday.

It is not a secret that council askaris have over time used the threat of arresting public service vehicle operators and small-scale traders, mostly the youth and women, over minor or imaginary infractions to extort money out of them.

The crudeness with which the askaris operate is equally appalling, as was seen in an incident last year when askaris in Kericho threw a spiked metallic bar under a speeding matatu, resulting in the deaths of two passengers.

At Salgaa in Nakuru, the unbecoming behaviour of council askaris resulted in the burning of a fire engine by angry traders.

Parliament would be doing Kenyans a service by passing legislation to dismantle these courts.

Besides the tendency to extort money from traders and public service vehicle operators, and also because they are being used to settle personal scores, these county courts have no basis in law. Simply put, their existence is untenable.

Matters are not helped by the fact that those who preside over these kangaroo courts have no understanding or formal training in legal matters and cannot therefore be trusted to be fair in their dealings.

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