Puzzle of Kisii High Court's 92 murder cases, awaiting one judge

Kisii Law Courts.

Photo credit: File

The delay in determination of murder cases in Kisii region has sparked a protest from lawyers who are calling for additional judges to be deployed to clear the pile up at the High Court.

According to the lawyers, some of the cases have been pending in court for the last five years, delaying justice for the affected parties.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has appealed to the Judiciary to send more judges to Kisii in order to help reduce the backlog of cases that have accumulated as the region experiences an upsurge in murder cases.

LSK South West Nyanza Branch officials said there are 92 murder cases pending at the High Court in Kisii, but there is only one judge assigned to deal with them

Branch chairman Gideon Nyambati said the judge is overwhelmed with the piling cases and he urged Chief Justice Martha Koome to add at least two more judges.

Mr Nyambati lamented that the Judiciary had removed a judge two years ago without a replacement forcing the current one to handle both civil and criminal cases.

“The 92 murder cases is a huge number and cannot be handled by one judge. That is overwhelming," said Mr Nyambati.

There have been increased murder cases in Gusii land in the last three weeks, causing shock across the country. The lawyers spoke on Monday at the Kisii Law Courts.

The lawyers condemned the gauging out of eyes of baby Junior Sagini, the brutal murder of a primary school in Nyamira, the murder of two children in Kiobegi village, the murder of a 31-year-old man in Bonchari and incidents of gender-based violence.

"As a society, we have the legal mandate to discharge a certain obligation to the community, which includes legal representation in court and counselling.  As a society, we do not represent the suspects, they are represented by individual lawyers as instructed," said Mr Nyambati.

"He added, “We assure the families of the victims that we will support them and give them all the necessary legal assistant that they may require."

The Branch Organising Secretary Anita Nduhukire said they are also shocked owing to the new wave of crime in Kisii and Nyamira counties.

She said they have really been affected by the events that have been happening in Gusii, taking example of the Baby Sagini case in which she is representing his family.

"We strongly speak against the events that have occurred in our region in the recent past. We are ready to offer legal representation and aid to the victims," said Ms Nduhukire.

"Let us be vigilant. We will provide all the necessary support as a society, especially to the victims. As a community, let us observe peace and uphold the rule of law."

She added, "The trend in Gusiiland is worrying. Let us speak about our issues as we check on our mental health problems," she said.

The Branch Secretary General Mr Polycarp Maroko said LSK had put some community outreach programs which will help engage folks and inform them consequences of involving themselves in some actions.

"We are keen on how to solve disputes in an amicable manner. We are in talks with chiefs, sub chiefs and other local administrators. We will have barazas (meetings) being conducted in the villages and try to avert these violent acts," said Mr Maroko.

He revealed that they are in talks with the judiciary to try and fast-track such cases.

"We have reached out to judicial officers handling these cases to try and fast-track them. We understand there are many cases in our courts, but cases which have widely been publicised should be expedited," he noted.

The LSK South West Branch Deputy Organising Secretary Mr Herman Bunde said the right to live is a constitutional right for each and every Kenyan and there if therefore no reason for anyone to take another's life.

"It is not only against the constitution, but also against religious teachings that one should not murder.