Magistrate: No, you cannot claim ‘eaten’ fare, witchdoctor’s fee through courts

A gavel. The small claims courts have no jurisdiction over cases involving women “eating fare,” an Eldoret court has advised.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The small claims courts have no jurisdiction over cases involving women “eating fare,” an Eldoret court has advised.

The same applies to cases involving witch doctors who fail to deliver after collecting money from clients.

Senior Resident Magistrate and Eldoret Small Claims Court adjudicator Tabitha Wanjiku Mbugua issued the advice after it emerged that men have made numerous attempts to pursue cash refunds from women they sent money ahead of dates but didn’t show up.

Ms Mbugua, speaking at the Uasin Gishu police’s annual thanksgiving ceremony at Eldoret Central Police Station gardens on Sunday, said since the establishment of the court, men have been seeking to file complaints about women who take their money and fail to show up for dates.

“I sympathise with men who lose money to their female friends who eat their fare but fail to honour the invites. Some of these men have approached my court for help but, unfortunately, my court cannot compel such women to pay back the fare. The law on the jurisdiction of small claims courts does not allow me to adjudicate on that,” he stated.

In the same breadth, the magistrate clarified that the Small Claims Court cannot help in claiming fees paid to witch doctors when charms fail to work.

He told Kenyans seeking the services of witchdoctors to know that the fee paid to them cannot be claimed in a court of law, since the law does not recognise the existence of witchcraft.

“These cases of claiming that you paid a witchdoctor and the charms did not work cannot be claimed in our court. When charms fail to work after paying for services, if you want your money back just settle it with your witchdoctor,” said Ms Mbugua.

She said the judiciary and its stakeholders will embark on a campaign in the North Rift to create awareness among residents on the operations and jurisdiction of the Small Claims Courts.

She cautioned Kenyans against relying on social media misinformation about the operations of the courts and instead seek proper information through court users committees and the Judiciary information desk in all courts countrywide.

In July 2022, fake news about a woman who was fined Sh23,000 for eating fare went viral. The Judiciary was forced to come out clear on the matter and denounce the fake news.

The fake report said the woman was fined Sh23,000 for failing to show up at her lover's birthday. The report had indicated that the woman was to attend a birthday party, but she missed it and switched off her phone.

Some social media platforms had alleged that the woman had been fined heavily for failing to visit her boyfriend even after being sent a bus fare.

The Judiciary moved in swiftly and clarified that the report was fake and asked Kenyans to disregard it. Kenyans on social media gave mixed reactions to the report.

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi aka Mike Sonko was among Kenyans who fell prey to the fake news.

"I did not know that you can sue a woman for eating your fare and have your cash refunded with interest. If this happened during my youthful days, I would have sued 5000 women," Sonko had said in reaction to the fake report.