The Kwale law court is facing an acute shortage of magistrates after resident magistrate Abdulrahaman Aminga resigned recently.
Principal magistrate Elizabeth Usui now has a huge workload of cases to deal with. Notices informing the public about the shortage have been pinned on several notice boards in the court corridors.
The notices ask for patience from the public and assure them that Usui is doing her level best to attend to them. Usui is now the only magistrate serving locals from Kinango, LungaLunga, Msambweni and as far as Taru and Samburu areas. Some locals travelling from these areas to attend court sessions are at times turned away.
Since Aminga left last month, Usui has been forced to sacrifice her lunch break to attend to cases involving parties that travel from far-flung areas.
"I pity her for being overwhelmed. Apart from not going for lunch she leaves the court late as sessions extend. The cases are too many," said a judicial officer, who refused to be named for he is not allowed to speak to the media.
Usui said she now gives priority to urgent matters, for those who want to withdraw their cases and those who want to change plea among other matters.
"It's true the work is a lot but we have assured locals that everything will be okay by October when new magistrates will come," she said.
She said the court has received a replacement for Aminga and the new magistrate will be handling the additional court number three from October.
"We are lucky because there is replacement for Aminga and a new resident magistrate has also been sent here but they will start working in October. I am optimistic that cases will be cleared in time," said Usui.