Success Stories: Alternative Justice System [AJS]

Kituo Cha Sheria has been implementing the Alternative Justice System AJS project since the year 2015. Through the project, Kituo lead conversations with survivors of the 2007-2008 Post Election Violence (PEV) across the regions that were heavily affected by the 2007-2008 PEV.

The project aimed at offering redress to crimes against property ownership and molding a safe platform of solving 2007/2008 PEV disputes arising between parties without recourse to the Courts to achieve peace, justice and reconciliation amongst the communities.

To-date Kituo has conducted a series of workshops in order to build the capacity of Commissioners and Adjudicators on the use of negotiation, mediation and non-violent Communication in Conflict Resolution.

Kituo has also Conducted AJS hearings in order to promote access to justice for the poor and marginalized- survivors affected by the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV) while fostering sustainable peace and co-existence among communities in Trans Nzoia.

Here are some of the success stories of the PEV civil disputes settled through a locally driven AJS mechanism in Trans Nzoia where the project was being implemented.

Francis Amira (Victim) and Jane Wekesa- (Offender)

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On 20th January 2008 at the height of Post-Election Violence (PEV) at Tobo, Mr Tarrus, Jane’s husband sold land to Francis Amira, measuring 45 feet by 60 feet within his farm. However, when this sale transaction was being carried out, Jane had separated from the husband and she was not at home.

Mr Tarrus being a Nandi elder, gave justification that he sold the land to buy cows to mark his eldership.

When Jane reconciled with her husband later in 2008 after the PEV had ceased, she has been hostile and aggressive towards Francis to a point that she uprooted Francis crops and boundary marks at the land Francis had bought. She went ahead to warn Francis of dire consequences should Francis go ahead and develop the land in contention.

Since 2008, Francis has never completed developing his house on the land due to constant harassments by Jane. Jane claims that her husband is a drunkard and maybe Francis took advantage of this reason to dupe Mr Tarrus to sell her the land.

Mr Tarrus, however upon invitation by the Adjudicators as a witness to this case, stated that he was sober when conducting the sale of the land and even the village elders and his brothers were present during the transaction. He maintains the land belongs to Francis. After a 2 day mediation process, involving inviting witnesses from both the victim and offender, Jane softens her stand on the land.

AJS team together with the parties then visited the disputed land for reconnaissance. During this visit, Jane and Francis agree to reconcile and Francis requests that a land surveyor be brought to clearly measure and demarcate the land. The Land surveyor upon invitation by AJS team scheduled to conduct this exercise on 25th September 2018 with AJS team being present as witnesses hence closure to the dispute.  Both Jane and her Husband Mr Tarrus together with Francis and his wife shake hands as a sign of peace in regards to this land dispute. Jane asks for forgiveness from Francis and apologizes for her actions.

Mary Mwangi (Victim) and Margaret Chepchirchir (Offender)

When the PEV broke out in Tobo on 20th January 2008, Mary Mwangi and Jane Chepchirchir who were neighbours fled to Endebess town with their household belongings including mattress, clothes, jiko (cooker), blankets and utensils.

They were hosted by the Red Cross at Endebess and even shared the same tent in Endebess. However after a compensation of Ksh50,000 by the government and Endebess camp being disbanded, Margaret and Mary contributed Ksh4,000 each and leased a piece of land at Zea so that they would squat for short period of time before going back to their homes in Tobo since they were still uncertain of the security situation.

During this period, Mary delivered a baby at the camp. The situation at Zea was not conducive to the health of the baby because it was a swampy place and prone to be a breeding site for the mosquitoes hence frequent malarial attacks for the baby. She then decided to move elsewhere to look for a better place where she could settle leaving behind her household goods under the care of Margaret at Zea.

However, upon return to Zea on July 2008, she found out that Margaret had also moved without leaving a trace of where she had headed with Mary’s household goods. Since then, whenever they meet in market, Mary embarrasses Margaret and publicly calls her a thief. Mary justifies this action because she desires to have justice in regards to her household goods and she can only reconcile with Margaret after she returns her household goods.

Margaret on her side acknowledges the account of Mary in regards to the events. She acknowledges to have taken Mary’s household goods but gives a justification that since they both never had mobile phones, it was not possible to trace Mary when she also moved from Zea.

She narrates that when she was also leaving Zea, she left Mary’s goods with their neighbour so that when Mary returns, the neighbour would hand over the goods to Mary because there was no communication whatsoever with Mary. However, the neighbour whom these things were handed over to has never been traced since 2008.

Margaret feels remorseful because this situation has deteriorated the relationship between them and also she has no money to replace the lost items.

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Margaret desires to have peace with her friend and a closure to this dispute because on numerous occasions she has unsuccessfully tried to reconcile with her friend.

After clarifications from both parties, the Adjudicators take Mary and Margaret through a mediation process. The process is effective through adjournments during the hearing so that the bench talks to each party separately and Mary agrees to reconcile with Margaret. They both shake hands as a sign of peace and closure to the dispute. Margaret even invites Mary to her home for dinner.

Esther Majuma (Victim) and Clement Wasike (Offender)

Esther Majuma and Clement Wasike are in-laws and neighbours at Salama “A”. However after 20th January 2008 when the PEV was raging, Esther’s brother was shot dead by unknown assailants making Esther flee to Endebess without salvaging any household property from her home.

She came back home after the situation was calm in March 2008. She found that her house and shop were looted and burnt down. Nothing was left behind. However she recounts that she left at her shop 80 bags maize each weighing 90Kg, 5 metallic window frames, 1 fuel tank of 100litres, and 9 pieces of iron sheets.

Later in 2010, she was told by her neighbours that they saw her in-law, Mr Clement, looting her property at the shop. When she approached Mr Clement, he denied ever looting her shop. Esther maintained that there shall be no peace between them until Mr Clement returns her property.

However during the mediation process, upon numerous clarifications by Adjudicators, Mr Clement reluctantly acknowledges to have taken some goods from Esther’s shop but as an act of salvaging the goods before village looters could come and take them away.

Mr Clement also acknowledges that he only took the 5 window frames, 9 pieces of iron sheets which were already burnt down and the 100litre fuel tank. The maize was already destroyed by the fire. He then took these property to Kimondo, a nearby shopping centre, to his store which he deemed was much safer than Salama.

However, on 23 January 2008, the attackers came back and broke into his shop and looted everything that he had stored there only leaving behind the 100litre fuel tank belonging to Esther. Mr Clement recounts that due to guilt and fear of backlash, he never wanted to confess to Esther that he had taken her property. He wanted the matter to lie low.

Mr Clement confessed that after Esther had been informed that he was seen taking the goods, his relationship with Esther has turned to be one frequented with public embarrassment and hostility towards each other including their families.

In middle of the mediation process facilitated, Mr Clement asks for forgiveness from Esther and even suggests that he be given a timeframe from which he shall pay back the 5 window frames and 9 iron sheets he had taken from Esther. Mr Clement also maintains that the 100litre fuel tank is still with him and he desires to return it back to Esther.

Esther on her part, agrees to reconcile with Mr Clement.

However she asserts that since peace and justice go hand in hand and basing on the fact that Mr Clement is her in-law, she only wants the fuel tank to be returned to her without any compensation for the window frames and the iron sheets. She desires to have the broken relationship with her in-law mended after the hearings.

Mr Clement requests for an adjournment so that he goes home and bring the 100litre fuel tank of which he hands over to Esther in the presence of the AJS team. They both shake hands and share a meal together as a sign of peace.  They both agree that the matter should come to a closure.

Alternative Justice System (AJS)

Kituo Cha Sheria

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Kituo Cha Sheria

Legal Advice Center

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