By DANSON MUNGATANA
I first met the former Chief Justice Gicheru as a young practitioner of the law in Mombasa where I used to appear before him when he sat as a Court of Appeal Judge.
I met him again but in a different capacity when God gave me the opportunity to serve the people of Garsen as their Member of Parliament. I went to see him in his office to request if Garsen could have a Magistrate’s Court.
In those days only Hola had a magistrate. He told me to find a reasonable place to rent space for the court and promised to build a court in future.
I approached Maendeleo ya Wanawake that had a hall in Garsen town available for rent. The Chief Justice kept his word and arrangements were made for the payment of rent and the posting of the first magistrate to Garsen court.
When the new constitution was passed, I went again to see the fallen CJ because the new constitution allowed appointments of judges in the counties. I went to request the chief Justice for a High court in Garsen.
He told me that there was no money for the expansion but the judiciary was partnering with international organisations to help build courts around the country.
He promised to put Garsen high court in the pilot phase of the project when it succeeded. He also promised to visit Garsen constituency… this grand old man of the law kept both promises.
The honourable Chief Justice David Maraga is the one who came after the completion of the construction to officially open the High court of Kenya Garsen station. Hon CJ Maraga appointed for us a High court Judge, a Senior Principal magistrate and a Senior Resident magistrate.
The people of Lamu and Tana River now can have their cases quickly resolved. We do not have to wait for our appeals for so long that by the time your appeal is heard, you have served your term.
We have been able to get Justice against land grabbers and other forms of lawlessness. We have been able to attract highly placed lawyers from Mombasa, Nairobi and Malindi to practice in high court Garsen… this has helped to expand the justice sector in our county.
I have personally been able to do quite a number of cases and help our people access justice.
We today mourn the passing away of not only a legal giant, but a giant who did giant things for the legal sector in Tana River County. God rest his soul in eternal peace.