Kisii Governor James Ongwae has urged residents to embrace Court Annexed Mediation as a means to dispute resolution.
Governor Ongwae spoke his office when High Court Judges Justice William Musyoka and Justice David Majanja paid a courtesy call. Justice Musyoka is leading the team planning for the launch of Court Annexed Mediation in Kisii later this week.
Court Annexed Mediation is an alternative dispute resolute process conducted under the umbrella of the court where parties resolve their disputes with the assistance of a third party called a mediator.
“Our people should embrace this alternative dispute resolution mechanism to which is a less expensive and quicker way of solving disputes while creating harmony in the community. We shall support this initiative by the judiciary to ease the backlog of cases in court,” said Ongwae.
The Governor said the County is facing over 400 disputes in court with some arising from lack of clarity on assets and liabilities inherited from former local authorities.
“Arbitration is the new dimension to dispute resolution world over as it saves time. When parties move to court, positions harden making it difficult to reach an agreement,” said DG Joash Maangi.
After a successfully pilot of Court Annexed Mediation in Nairobi, the Judiciary has now rolled out the mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution method to other counties.
The Judiciary is rolling out the mediation in Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Machakos, Garissa, Embu, Kakamega and Kisii Counties.
“We are screening some cases before handing them over to me mediators who will be paid by the judiciary so that parties don’t bear the costs. We have also set timelines within which the disputes will be resolved,” said Justice Majanja.
The judge noted that courts in Kisii were handling a large number of land cases involving succession and some of these could be dispensed with through mediation.
“We have a backlog of cases and most of them especially criminal cases stem from land disputes. Some of these cases are so old that children are born into the disputes complicating their resolution. If we adopt mediation aggressively, we can address this challenge,” said Justice Majanja.
Both internal and external stakeholders who include advocates, court users committees, mediators, county leaders, the media, community leaders and members of the public will be sensitized and engaged on the Court Annexed Mediation.