Early Valentine’s as Thika residents fete magistrate
Thika Law Court was last week treated to a rare spectacle as a group of local residents among them artistes surprised Chief Magistrate Stella Atambo with a bouquet of flowers for her dedication in delivering justice, as well as legal expertise, which they said has impacted positively to the community.
Atambo, who was caught unawares with songs and dance, as she alighted from her vehicle to attend court sessions, could not hold back tears, as the dancing youths courageously escorted her to her office.
The more than 20 people led by decorated actress, Sue Kimani aka ‘Waitherero’, said they are beneficiaries of some impartial rulings and guidance by Atambo, adding that Thika Court has seen tremendous improvement in legal service delivery during her tenure.
Though they described the magistrate as very tough and a no-nonsense judicial officer inside the courtroom, they said she has initiated programmes in court that have had positive impact to litigants.
“In the courtroom, she is tough. In fact, we were quite a big group, but after getting wind that it was Atambo they were going to face, most of them disappeared into thin air. However, the way she delivers her rulings by guiding litigants, calling for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, cannot be underestimated,” said Waitherero.
Burial site tussle
Also in the company was a daughter of the late former Juja billionaire, Christopher Mbote, who had two wives battling over his burial site.
Atambo helped to reunite them after she delivered a landmark Solomonic ruling that the deceased be buried at the boundary between the houses of the two wives, ending a legal burial tussle that would have taken years.
They said in Atambo’s tenure as the Chief Magistrate, the operations at the Thika Law Courts, had improved, especially in cases involving minors and the establishment of a small claims court.
They added that she has been instrumental in overseeing and operationalisation of the newly launched e-filing digital platform as well as lobbying for a High Court registry, to be established in Thika, where a new Judge has since been posted.
“We felt that since this is a month of love, we should recognize the efforts by the Chief Magistrate in streamlining operations at the Thika law courts. Again, she has helped feuding families to reunite. She has also been instrumental in helping minors get justice,” said Waitherero.
Atambo admitted that the appreciation came as a surprise and attributed the successes to teamwork, collaboration with court users and other stakeholders.
She was recently feted by Law Society of Kenya, Nairobi Chapter, for her exemplary performance in transforming the busy Thika Law Courts, which has the largest number of magistrates in Kiambu county.