Ask witchdoctor before going to court, Kenyans told

2014-03-26 10:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - A frustrated chief justice told Kenyans on Tuesday that even witchdoctors could help them resolve their disputes without taking each other to the overburdened courts.

Willy Mutunga, a respected lawyer, was appointed in 2011 to reform a judiciary widely seen as in the pay of the political elite and to cut red tape, at a time when many Kenyans had lost confidence in the courts.

Opening a new court building in Kiambu county near Nairobi, Mutunga said he was concerned that the growing demand for court services was adding to a backlog of thousands of lawsuits.

He said people should stop saying "I'll see you in court", and entering a long and costly process, when they could first seek help from churches, mosques, elders or neighbours.

"Even in Kutui, where I come from, I have told people they can go to the witchdoctors to solve issues," he said, to laughter from people at the ceremony.

The remarks prompted a flurry of bemused or irritated messages to television stations and tweets and, even if meant light-heartedly, are likely to raise eyebrows in a largely conservative and religious nation.

Mutunga has won praise for his reforms of the court system, but critics say he needs to do more to combat perceptions of corruption, make the legal system more accessible to those who are less well-off, and tackle the backlog of cases.

Many suspects have to wait for years in police custody for their cases to be heard.

Many Kenyans also complain of having to bribe court officials to release documents that are otherwise declared "lost".

Mutunga last year chaired the Supreme Court panel that upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's victory in the presidential election, dismissing a petition by his rival Raila Odinga.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 5 scintillating RWC tries from the weekend
Meyer taking no chances
Butch happy with ‘best possible’ Bok side
Hooper slapped with one-match ban
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.