Kenyans urged to settle family disputes out of courts

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Human rights activists Tiger Wanyanja (Left) director Mwatikho Torture Survivors Organization and Job Bwonya director Western Kenya Human Rights Watch

Western human rights activists have urged Kenyans to embrace on alternative out of courts dispute resolution mechanisms instead of taking every case to the court.

In an exclusive interview with www.westfm.co.ke, the chairman of Western Human Rights Watch, Job Bwonya advised the residents to be using village elders and chiefs to settle conflicts through dialogue.

Mr. Bwonya said there are many cases in the courts that could have been dealt with accordingly and an amicable solution reached through the local administration.

“There are a lot of dialogue based cases in our courts that could have been resolved easily by our local administrations and not through the courts as they take long to be settled,” he said.

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The Bungoma law courts. Residents have been urged to solve their cases out of court

He said embracing the local administration in handling dispute cases would assist in reducing the number of cases most of which are based on disputes and conflicts in the court.

He said such cases end up taking a very long time to be resolved by the courts and local administration can save litigants the agony of spending huge sums of money on legal fees and other related costs.

Bwonya cited a case at Kimilili Law courts where where a certain person was accused of pointing a finger to his neighbor during a quarrel and its now on its third year of hearing and has been adjourned for more than six consecutive times saying such cases end up wasting one’s time and resources for no need.

He cited another case of a woman in conflict with his in-laws on family disputes which has been postponed on several occasions for almost two years at the Bungoma high courts, something Bwonya says the elders would have solved amicably.

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Mr. Tiger Wanyanja the chairman with Mwatikho torture survivor organization and a human rights activists said all these cases could have been long gone if both sides could compromise on dialogue.

Mr. Wanyanja said court litigation costs are high and cases take long to end hence family disputes and grievances can easily be settled by the use of alternative dispute resolution which can too help in avoiding family divisions.

Same directives were once issued by the Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga who urged there is no importance of using a lot of money and time in courts yet there are alternative means of settling the same fairly without causing any harm to any one.

Dr. Willy Mutunga cited Article 159 of the constitution which allows Kenyans to seek for alternatives means to settle conflicts that arise among them.

More than 600,000 cases by then, were in various courts country wide awaiting verdict and according to him a big percentage of those cases could have been settled out of the courts.