By David Njagi
The judiciary arm of government is planning to raise the number of courts in rural areas to fast track access to justice.
By widening its reach in rural areas, the law institution is keen to reduce cases of asset stripping, especially among women.
According to the Registrar of the High Court, Judith Omange, there are more than 4,000 succession cases every year, but the figure is expected to grow higher as implementation of the Constitution finds its place in the corridors of justice.
“We are also simplifying laws and procedures as well as establishing a pro poor justice system which will give priority to women and children,” says Omange.
The fresh push to diversify the reach of justice will for instance, replace the informal system of justice which at the moment is used to solve inheritance cases at the community level, says Omange.
It comes at a time when the weighty side of land, property and inheritance rights has been made known through the launch of a documentary and community guidebook on access to informal justice for grassroots women.
“We are asking the Attorney General’s office to make it possible for us to train para legals to serve within the community to make the gender agenda possible,” says Winnie Lichuma, the Chairperson National Gender and Equality Commission.
While gracing the event during the launch by the Grassroots Organization Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS) Kenya, European Union Head of Delegation, Lodewijk Briet, said the Union supports judicial reforms in Kenya especially at this time when the country is headed to the polls.
According to Briet, a stable judiciary will be well positioned to implement land reforms and pull Kenyans from the poverty trap though Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“Women’s rights to land is closely intertwined with the process of gender mainstreaming,” said Briet. “Cases of asset stripping are delicate and should be handled through consensus.”