Taita Taveta Governor Eng. John Mtuta Mruttu this morning witnessed the official launch of Voi High Court Sub Registry at Voi Law Courts in a brief ceremony attended by the Judiciary’s top brass.

In his welcoming address, Governor Mruttu encouraged the visitors to sample the County’s hospitality derived from the Tsavo Eco System which is famed for the big five wild game of lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.

In what sounded like a direct response to his choice of Mgeno as the County seat, the Governor informed his audience which consisted mainly of Judicial staff and local Administration officials that the County Government had recently acquired land at Mgeno Ranch with sufficient space for construction of offices for the County Executive, Legislature and other needy institutions, with a possibility of future expansion.

The Governor was among several high ranking National, County Government and judicial officials from Nairobi and Mombasa, including the Chief Registrar Ms Anne Amadi and the Honorable Mr Justice Msagha Mbogholi who attended the launch. Other officials were High Court Registrar Honorable Judith Omenge, Mombasa High Court Judge Lady Justice Maureen Odero, Mombasa Chief Magistrate Honorable Maxwell Gicheru, Taveta Magistrates-Hons. Ondieki and Kitur, Wundanyi Principal Magistrate Hon Orenge and Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Honorable Richard Odenyo who was the event’s master of Ceremony. The Deputy County Commissioner Khamasi Shivokho, accompanied by several senior security personnel who were also in attendance.

Echoing the sentiments expressed earlier by Voi High Court visiting Judge Maureen Odero, the Governor, whose own gubernatorial victory was up-held by the High Court sitting in Mombasa, decried the excessive litigants’ costs, including transport and accommodation, while pursuing justice in Mombasa Courts.
Representing Chief Justice Willy Mutunga as the Chief Guest, the Honorable Mr. Justice Msagha Mbogholi described the Chief Justice as a fighter whose dream of devolving and dispensing justice to all corners of the Republic is gradually becoming a reality.

Honorable Msagha Mbogholi lauded the Chief Justice for his bold step, of gazetting the establishment of the High Court Sub Registry in Voi alongside 4 other Registries in Naivasha, Kitui, Migori and Narok. Legal Notice No. 1923 of 24 March establishing them took effect on 1st April 2014. Besides the 5 High Court Sub Registries, there are 21 fully operational High Court stations throughout the Republic including , Nairobi Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi Industrial Court, Eldoret, Kitale, Kakamega, Nyeri, Mombasa, Meru, Kisii,Bungoma, Busia, Nakuru, Kericho, Machakos, Malindi, Kerugoya, Murang’a,Homabay, Kisumu, Garissa and Embu. Currently, there are 115 lower courts, although this figure is set to rise to 116 when Mbita is officially launched, hopefully, in July.

Mr. Justice Mbogholi Msagha lamented the poor education standards prevailing in the County of his birth which, according to him, have resulted in only one female Magistrate currently in the whole Republic who hails from Taita Taveta. Ms. Dominica Wakesho, is based at Nairobi’s Milimani Courts.

However, although Lady Lady Justice Abby Shiganga-Mshila was born in Kakamega County, she is married to David Mshila who hails from Rong’e Juu Location.

Visiting Mombasa High Court Judge, Lady Justice Maureen Odero, who also addressed the guests, reported that so far, 126 pending criminal cases have been transferred to the Voi High Court Sub Registry from Mombasa for hearing.

Speaking on behalf of Voi Court Users Committee simply known as CUC, Lawyer Duncan Mwanyumba, a practicing advocate based in Voi, presented a Petition by the Voi CUC to the Chief Justice’s representative. He drew attention not only to the need to renovate and maintain the existing Court premises but, also, to the need to construct a modern Court destined to serve a growing County population.

In a letter dated 7th April 2014, out-going Mombasa Chief Magistrate, Honorable Stephen N. Riechi, had written to the head of Voi Law Court Honorable Samuel Wahome, pursuant to the gazette notice establishing the Sub-Registry, and informed him that a visiting Judge would be sitting at Voi Law Courts one week in a month, effective from 5 May to 9 May, 2014.

On 6 May 2014, Lady Justice Maureen Odero made history when she presided, in open Court, over the first ever Voi High Court civil case involving a caveat lodged at the Mombasa Marriage Registry by a Voi businessman challenging his son’s wedding to his childhood sweet-heart on grounds of the couple’s age difference. After briefly hearing both parties, Judge Odero directed them to re-appear before her in Mombasa the following Friday 9 May 2014, when she ordered the removal of the marriage objection because the bride-groom, being over 18, had legal capacity to marry.

Duncan Mwanyumba,
Voi City, Friday, June 6, 2014

Duncan Mwanyumba is a practicing advocate of the High Court of Kenya currently based in Voi City, Coast Province of Kenya, a cultural enthusiast and a member of the Rotary Club of

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