Mobile Courts: Taking justice closer to the people in Kapenguria
Kapenguria Law Courts is located in Kapenguria town West Pokot County. Justice Stephen Githinji is the Presiding
Judge and has a jurisdiction of the entire West Pokot region. He was the first judge to be posted there following the
establishment of the High Court station in September 2015.
Kapenguria Law Court, Executive Officer, Samuel Okodoi, demonstrates the distance covered by court officials to take the mobile courts to the people
“The work load is growing since most people find it easier to come here, services have been taken closer to the people
although at the moment we are operating in a small court building donated by the County Government of West Pokot,” said Justice Githinji.
The Judge said that however, all is not lost after the demolition of an old court building that housed the magistrates’ courts because a new court building funded by the Judicial Improvement Project- JPIP is under construction.
The Kapenguria Court station has one judge and two magistrates who conduct mobile courts in Sigor and Alale areas which are 70 kilometers and 180 kilometers respectively.
“We conduct mobile courts four days a month. The roads are bad and it takes about six hours to Alale but so far we have not encountered any instances of insecurity when conducting mobile courts although there are reports of raids in the region,” said Resident Magistrate Hon. Y. Kulecho.
Although the Court has only a case backlog of only 58 cases inherited from Kitale Law Courts, it faces a challenge of absentee witnesses because of poverty and nomadism practiced by the local communities.
Justice Githinji said residents prefer traditional ways of solving disputes and only resort to court after exhausting such traditional channels.
Executive Officer Samuel Okodoi revealed that the first court was established at Chewoyet Secondary School where the late Kijana Wamalwa and George Saitoti schooled.
“This court was established before independence and it was 3kms away from the current court. It is now a museum and is where the famous Kapenguria six including the founding father President Jomo Kenyatta were tried and sentenced,” said Okodoi.