Feature Stories

Down memory lane: Kilungu Nunguni pioneer court

Established in 1918, Kilungu Law Courts lying at the peak of Nunguni town is among the native Courts that were established by the British protectorate.

The Native Court was headed by a Division Officer and District Commissioner who had both administrative and judicial powers.

Matters that were brought before them were first heard by the elders then brought to the DC and DO who formed a quorum for them to prosecute. The native Court was headed by an African Court officer who was British and was the link between the other lower courts and the High Court.

The first African magistrate of the court, now retired, Mr Jonathan Kiia, said the current court building was built in 1952, and was the first African Court in the region. Kiia served as a court clerk from 1962, and having been among the few Kenyans who had secondary education, he was shortlisted to attend a one year special course on administration at Kabete College and that qualified him to become a magistrate. There were no universities then, so the qualification to magistracy was the Special Course.

He became the first magistrate of the court in 1967; he was the first African to head the Court at Kilungu and exercised more judicial powers.

The Court mostly handles land disputes arising from a myriad land adjudication complexities ranging from lack of land demarcation that has led to increased crimes arising from land disputes.

The court building, partly wooden, still majestically stands in position, but now with two additional Court rooms. The 99 year old court has many tales to tell on the history of matters justice.

 

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