27 July 2012

Kenya: Kisii Lawyers Defy LSK Boss Plea to End Strike

LAW Society of Kenya chairman Eric Mutua yesterday failed to convince striking lawyers in Kisii to resume work. He asked the lawyers to end their two-week boycott of the court and give dialogue a chance. However, the lawyers rejected the plea and vowed to continue with their strike until their concerns are addressed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.

Speaking at the Kisii Sports Club on Wednesday, Mutua said he had met Mutunga over the matter. "I am pleading with you to call off the strike so that we can give dialogue a chance. I have met with CJ over the same issue," he said. The LSK boss, who met the lawyers to discuss a return-to-work formula said Mutunga has promised to address their concerns to end the impasse which has paralysed operations at the High Court in Kisii.

He told journalist that he had travelled to Kisii to meet the advocates, who were planning to Nairobi to meet the CJ. "I' m here today because of the concerns you raised as lawyers. I want to assure you that the issues you raised will addressed with urgency they deserve," he added. Mutua the planned trip to Nairobi will have been costly to the lawyers, adding that the standoff is hurting the litigants and the public.

The LSK Kisii chapter secretary Gideon Nyambati said the lawyers have resolved to continue boycotting cases in the High Court until the CJ addresses their concerns. "We have told him that the strike will continue until out concerns are addressed," he said. The Star has learned that Mutunga will visit Kisii on August 1 to address the lawyers' grievances on the operations at the High Court.

Mutua said the CJ has directed Justice Roseline Korir to deal with all pending rulings and judgments by September 14. "The CJ had directed Justice Korir to deal with pending rulings and judgments before September 14 and promised me that he will have one of the judges replaced," he said. The LSK official backed the strike saying the lawyers' demands are genuine saying members of the public have a right to have their cases heard and determined expeditiously.

The striking lawyers want the CJ to transfer High Court judges Ruth Sitati and Korir over alleged laxity and incompetence in delivering rulings and judgments. Meanwhile, information and Communication Assistant minister, Simon Ogari has asked the CJ post more Judges to the High Court to clear the backlog of cases. He said the two judges are overwhelmed by work because they are serving more than four counties. He asked the CJ to establish High courts in Migori, Narok and Homa Bay counties to ease the congestion.

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