By Robert Nyasato
The seven-day stand off between advocates and two High Court judges sitting in Kisii over backlog of cases heightened with the protesting lawyers demanding their immediate replacement.
The advocates through the Law Society of Kenya(LSK) yesterday said they would not relent on their demand to the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to remove Justices Ruth Sitati and Roseline Korir.
About 100 lawyers practising in Kisii downed tools on July 9, this year in a bid to press for removal of the embattled judges leaving litigants suffering as the strike entered its seventh day yesterday.
In an interview with The Standard LSK, Kisii Chapter Secretary Gideon Nyambati said the strike will only be called off when the two judges are transferred.
“The CJ has responded to our concerns by scheduling a meeting with LSK Council over the impasse but our demand is very clear and we shall only resume if the judges are removed,” Nyambati said.
A spot check revealed that the two court rooms presided over by Justices Sitati and Korir remained deserted with litigants walking in and out of the court without being attended to.
Earlier, Deputy High Court Registrar Kakai Kissinger said the judiciary was aware of the backlog of cases throughout the country noting Kisii was not an exception.
He revealed that the Judicial Service Commission(JSC) was in the process of recruiting additional 106 judges to address the issue.
“We would like to appeal to our lawyers and stakeholders in Kisii to be patient as the judiciary addresses the problem of case backlog,” Kissinger offered.
The registrar observed that there was no need of striking because that would make a bad situation worse noting: “We have similar situations in Bungoma and elsewhere but lawyers have not gone on strike.”
The advocates are accusing the judges of failure to dispense justice expeditiously. Another issue raised by the protesting lawyers is too much absenteesm on the side of the judges which is not explained.