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Kituo takes M-Haki to Marereni, Kilifi.

Background information

Kituo Cha Sheria (KCS) plays a critical role in ensuring the poor and the marginalized in the community access justice. The institution provides legal Aid services, including Public Interest Litigation to the cluster specifically on land and housing rights. Towards this end, KCS works closely with key partners including like-minded networks and Community Justice Centres. It also supervises them in their bid to offer quality access to justice for all.

The communities living around Malindi Salt belt have suffered numerous instances of land injustices. The prejudices are mainly propagated by Salt Companies in the area. The firms in focus include; Kensalt, Mombasa Salt, Krystaline, Kemu Salt, Malindi Salt and Kurawa salt manufacturing companies. Poverty is rampant in the area.

Kituo Cha Sheria in its bid to reach out to the community came up with M-Haki Platform. It is a concept where the organization provides legal services through phone calls.

In-depth Analysis of the issues:

On 17th December 2016 Kituo Cha Sheria conducted a Market research and M-Haki platform training at the Malindi Rights Forum (MRF) justice centre (Mlani Langi Hall). The market research questions are geared towards enhancing avenues of access to justice. The centre is located in Adu Ward, Magarini Sub-County, Kilifi County.

Advocate Kitonga Kiiva from Kituo Cha Sheria gave an introductory statement, introducing Kituo Cha Sheria and its core areas of operations, the values espoused by the organization and its bid to ensure access to justice to all Kenyans. He outlined milestones Kituo has made towards access to justice including the laws it has pushed and got the nod of parliament in the quest to open more room towards accessing justice. He led a question and answer session explaining a number of legal positions including gender based violence, land and labour rights.

Two outstanding issues included the matter of labour office which is often compromised and the stand of the police that cases of incest are only handled after the delivery of the baby and not instantly. We advised that incase the complaints were not addressed, we would take up the matter with Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Commission on Administrative Justice to conduct in depth investigations, provide report to ensure the matter is resolved completely.

Mr. Adika gave a constitutional background of access to justice as laid down under Article 47 of the Constitution of Kenya. He then explained to the people the essence of M-Haki, how it works and the regulations around the system. It was emphasized that with the invention of technology, it is necessary that it is embraced in dissemination of legal information.

Of special interest to the participants was the question of confidentiality of information provided to the platform. Mr. Tobias Mwadime explained the security measures and further affirmed that advocates providing counsel in the process are bound by professional confidentiality clauses and as such, do not divulge such information to third parties. The same responsibility is pegged on all Kituo Staff handling the sms platform.

In attendance were 37 participants; 20 women and 17 men. The participants were largely drawn from the community around Malindi Salt Belt. They were unanimous that it was a good initiative and would help them access justice timely. They promised to market the initiative to others who were not present within the region.

The participants were also introduced to Market research questionnaires and assisted to fill them in. Majority preferred to fill in the Kiswahili version of the questionnaire.

In conclusion, Mr. Julius Fondo, leading participants from the community gave a vote of thanks to the people present and called on his fellow participants to be good ambassadors of the SMS platform. The event was closed by a word of prayer.

Kituo thus trained 37 participants, increased its visibility in the region and managed to collect the perspective of the people therein for further enhancement of M-Haki.

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