The Star (Nairobi)

29 September 2012

Kenya: Lenaola Urges Kisii Lawyers to End Strike

A judge has asked striking Kisii lawyers to end their strike. Justice Isaac Lenaola told the lawyers that Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is addressing their concerns.

"It is good that you give the strike a second thought because the chief justice is currently addressing the matter," Justice Lenaola said at the Kisii law courts during a tour.

During a meeting with lawyers, Lenaola, a commissioner to the Judicial Service Commission, said the strike hasdisrupted operations at the law courts for three months.

The lawyers, through the LSK Kisii Chapter Secretary Gideon Nyamabti, said the strike will continue until the CJ transfers the two resident judges, Ruth Sitati and Roselyn Korir. The lawyers accuse the two of delaying cases.

"We have raised our concerns to the commissioner and they have promised to take them up and forward to the CJ, but in the meantime the strike will continue," Nyambati said.

The lawyers, who downed tools on July 8, have deserted the High Court leaving litigants with no option but to stay home. Litigants John Harison Oyalo and Mannaseh Sabara, whose cases have stalled, pleaded with the lawyers to resume work .

"I am pleading with the lawyers to resume work because the strike has affected our cases. We will not keep on coming here only to be told that the matters will not proceed because of the strike," Oyalo said. Justice Korir has been issuing new dates for criminal matters.

At one time the lawyers differed with some saying the strike should be called off as they awaited decision by the CJ. Others however said they are not ready to work with the two judges. On August, Mutunga visited Kisii but failed to broker a return to work deal with the lawyers who maintained their stand.

During a first meeting with the police, children department , Manga Children Remand Court, the judicial officials members of the public and the lawyers Justice Lenaola said that more High judges will be posted to Kisii to ease the backlog.

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