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West Pokot to get more courts in Judiciary’s plan to widen reach

 

Chief Justice Martha Koome laid a foundation stone for a new law court in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on February 21, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Chief Justice Martha Koome has announced plans to open up courts in Alale and Sigor in West Pokot to take services closer to the people.

The move, she said, will help in the fight against retrogressive cultures.

Ms Koome spoke during the opening of a Sh350 million court in Kapenguria, a project funded by the World Bank in a bid to extend services to remote parts of the country.

The CJ added that female staff at the Judiciary will mentor girls to help reduce early marriages and female genital mutilation (FGM).

“The female professionals in the law firms will be given a priority in employment. They have to set an example and motivate the girl child,” she said.

During the visit, Koome said the new building had been opened decades after the first African court was established to try Kapenguria Six, who included the First President Jomo Kenyatta.

“I hope that the significance of Chewoyet Secondary School, where the six nationalists were tried, and which sits adjacent to the West Pokot County assembly will be preserved in the corridor of justice,” she said.

She added: “These monuments remind us how far we have come.”

She pledged to champion the construction of a national monument to remind Kenyans how far we have travelled in the journey to improve access to justice.

The CJ said the Kapenguria court station, as at December 2021, had a backlog of 180 cases at the High Court and 2,479 at the magistrates’ court.

Koome noted that the new building will accelerate delivery of justice, and cases will henceforth take not more than three years at the trial court and one year on appeal.

She said the opening of judicial courts across the country is a commitment to open the doorways of justice to all Kenyans, especially the marginalised communities such as West Pokot county.

“The Judiciary focus is really the marginalised and vulnerable people of this country so that they can also get justice on time,” she added.

Area Senator Samuel Poghisio said the government should track down the Chewoyet colonial court and turn it into a museum under the National Museums of Kenya.

“The country should know that the Kapenguria Six were tried in Kapenguria. The judicial system should be upgraded. We need law courts in Alale and Sigor to bring justice closer to the people,” he noted.

Governor John Lonyangapuo said the county government will set aside land for the construction of law courts in Alale and Sigor for locals to get services.

Lonyangapuo said residents in those areas have to travel more than 200 kilometres to get justice. He said the deployment of judicial offices to other areas will deliver quick justice.

“We need a lands court to help solve land disputes that have for long been a thorn in the flesh of our people. The council of elders has been trying to resolve the cases, but we require premium attention to speed up the cases,” he said.

The Chief Justice was accompanied by Chief Registrar Ann Amadi, Justice Weldon Korir among other officials.