Voi Court Users Committee led by its Chairman, Honorable Samuel Wahome yesterday held a lively public Baraza at Mbololo Chief’s Camp, which recorded an unusual male attendance. Honorable Wahome is the Voi Court Station Head.

The afternoon public gathering was presided over by Voi Sub-County Assistant Deputy Commissioner Isaac Mujesia. Other Administration officials present included host Mbololo Location Chief Naphtali Ngeti and Area Assistant Chief Nina Tumbo.

Mbololo Location is made up of Mraru and Tausa Sub Locations.
Mr. Mujesia introduced various State and County officials present, including Mbololo Ward Administrator, Ms Mary Mramba.

Other members of the Court Users Committee, simply known as Voi CUC, included Prisons official Inspector John Wainaina , Probation officers Ms Njeri Kihumba, Ms Jenevive Akinyi and Joshua Leitoro, Education officer Ms Christine Zighe, State Counsel Ms Dama Karani and Lawyer Duncan Mwanyumba among others.

The event was organized and funded by Resources Oriented Development Initiatives Kenya, commonly known as RODI-Kenya, whose representative Benjamin Kigen is now a common figure in various civic education fora in the County.

Voi CUC is composed of various actors in the Justice System and consumers of Court services, including Prisons, KWS, Probation, Police, Children’s Department, State Prosecutors, Lawyers and education officers. Its members were conspicuous during the official launch of Voi High Court Sub-Registry on Friday June 6 presided over by the Honorable Mr Justice Msagha Mbogholi representing Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga.

In a significant departure from the phobia characteristic of the old order, the Mbololo residents, who included retired Church of the Province of Kenya Reverend Peter Mwakio, not only warmly welcomed their Ward Administrator Madam Mary Mramba who attended the meeting but, also freely and candidly challenged various Government decisions and actions for which they demanded quick responses.

A female resident, Agnes Makau caused laughter when she voiced her concern over the rampant alcoholism among the men, which she blamed for the rising cases of child defilement and general insecurity. Others, however wondered why the licencing of brew was not extended to the local Taita M’bangara.

Speaking in the same Forum, Honorable Samuel Wahome went to great lengths to explain why suspects were released on bail pending hearing of their cases as a Constitutional right. He encouraged the residents however to embrace alternative dispute mechanisms (ADR) under conducive local conditions which would lessen the financial burden on the national penal system which entails feeding a large Prison population.

Punctuating his remarks with religious quotes, Honorable Wahome, who is well known for his occasional Sunday sermons at the Voi Prison, exhorted the residents to consider reconciliation and forgiveness amongst themselves over petty offences like theft of neighbors’ chicken and the like, which often clog the Judicial system. Honorable Wahome politely declined, however to respond to a resident who had challenged the fairness of the decision to surcharge both the parents and pupils of Mwaghogho and Mwakichuchu Secondary Schools, some of whose students were recently arraigned before him in Voi Court over charges of Arson and damage to School properties, citing the Sub-judice rules. He advised both teachers and parents however to counsel their children, students and pupils on sound discipline and social etiquette.

Taking the cue from the Voi Court Station Chief, other members of the CUC reminded the Mbololo residents that the unwritten category of personal laws, which in Jurisprudence is referred to commonly as the living law such as is practiced and upheld collectively under old traditional systems of village elders and welfare committees, ought to be encouraged under the devolved system of governance.

The living laws, whose effect and efficacy often supersedes even that of the written laws, would impact positively on morality and strengthen the social fabric.

The residents were further advised to shun the belief that only uniformed police could solely and exclusively exercise authority or regulate their daily affairs.

In a dramatic and rather sad twist to an otherwise successful Baraza however, Mr. Isaac Mujesia’s attempt to introduce a young successful applicant for Police recruitment from the area was met with strong resistance by the residents, some of whom, including ODM activist Danson Mwakoma from Kirutai, insisted that the applicant, who was brought up by his aunt in Mombasa did not deserve the slot as he was unknown in the local community. The young man, Salim Mwangura was flanked by his paternal grandfather Judah Baraza who is however well known in Mbololo.

Duncan Mwanyumba,
Voi City, Thursday, July 17, 2014

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