This is the assertion of Kisumu High Court Presiding Judge, Fred Ochieng.
According to Ochieng, courts handle a paltry 20 per cent of all the disputes across the country.
If we recognize the place in the community played by elders, clan leaders, family heads, then we know that that is where we find true justiceJustice Fred Ochieng
This, he says, leaves the community with 80 per cent of the disputes which are resolved through alternative means.
Justice Ochieng is therefore calling for the strengthening of alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
Speaking in Kisumu during engagement of stakeholders in the justice system in Kisumu on Wednesday, Ochieng noted that these mechanisms have been tested and proven.
The event organized by Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network, and supported by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was attended by representatives of the religious groups, council of elders, he judiciary, law students and other stakeholders in the justice system.
Justice Ochieng is the Chairman of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Taskforce on Mediation.
We need to discuss how to create a harmonized approach in dispute resolution, to bridge formal and informal dispute resolutionBetty Okero
“If we recognize the place in the community played by elders, clan leaders, family heads, then we know that that is where we find true justice,” said Ochieng.
“The court is not worried about the ADR systems. If anything, we encourage it,” he added.
Ochieng said the government is supporting the ADR systems, and has allocated Sh50 million this financial year for payment of Mediators.
He however noted that they need Sh500 million annually for the exercise.
UNDP support to ADR
Dan Juma, UNDP Team Leader, Governance and Inclusive Growth said ADR system is a global practice which provide legal remedy to communities.
“This conversation is aimed at looking at how the various entities engaged in the justice system can work complimentarily,” Juma said.
He said UNDP has been supporting state agencies and other grass root communities which help the marginalized in sorting out disputes through alternative means.
Betty Okero, Team Leader, CSO Network said the conversation help in sharing experiences and sharing best practices in conflict resolution.
She said the aim is to add value in alternative conflict resolution, in a way that would ensure worrying parties feel satisfied after going through the process.
“We need to discuss how to create a harmonized approach in dispute resolution, to bridge formal and informal dispute resolution,” she said.