Deputy President William Ruto has asked Kenyans to pay a focus on exhausting alternative dispute resolving mechanisms before seeking redress in courts.
He said the move would ease pressure on the judiciary, thereby reducing case backlogs.
Addressing the Executive Committee of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association breakfast meeting at his Karen residence on Friday, Dr Ruto said good governance demands that the citizen has ample opportunity to participate and obtain redress without delay or undue cost.
“Aside from good governance goals, inadequate dispute resolution mechanisms always escalate disputes into conflicts, leading to violence, insecurity and political instability,” he explained.
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The Deputy President said administrative justice delivery mechanisms, having the capacity to effectively dispose of a tremendous spectrum of potential triggers of conflict and insecurity were paramount public policy interventions.
He called for the institutionalisation of the administrative justice delivery mechanisms to improve the quality of governance and stability in Africa.
“Mechanisms should be created in every country and entrenched in the constitutional framework with a mandate to address abuses of power, manifest injustices and improper, oppressive or perverse official conduct,” added Dr Ruto.
He pledged that Kenya will work with AOMA towards ensuring that the body partners with the African Union (AU) in managing areas of disputes in the continent.
“Disputes should not lead to conflicts and instability in the continent. We will work progressively towards serving the interests of the citizens,” said Dr Ruto.
He called on leaders to take positively constructive criticisms that will better delivery of services to the public.
AOMA President who is also the Public Protector of South Africa Busisiwe Mkwebane asked African leaders to focus on strengthening ombudsmen in their countries.
She said such an initiative would see more resources channeled to programmes that empower the society.
According to Ms Mkwebane, their active participation in the continent’s issues through the AU would lead to faster resolution of conflicts in Africa based on “our expertise in mediation”.
Florence Kajuju, the Ombudsman of Kenya and Secretary General of AOMA, said the opening up government to the people of Kenya had intensified civil engagement in the development of the country.
“Open governance ensure citizens get information in time, as a result, they are able to participate in the development of their countries,” she noted.
Ms Kajuju called on other African countries to embrace open governance strategy, saying the continent cannot be transformed when governments operate in silos.