Kenyans of low income earning who have no means to have lawyers representing them in court will now be able to have legal representation until their cases are heard and determined.
Attorney General Githu Muigai who inaugurated the national legal aid service board said that among those who will be benefit more include the vulnerable children, women, and persons with disabilities, suspects of human trafficking and those who are on death row sentences.
He said: “we want to make sure we have an equal playing field between those who have resources and those who do no.”
And added: “the issue of legal aid for persons who cannot afford legal; service has been a subject to numerous proposals for 30 years. We have been grappling with this problem especially on where to get the finances for it.”
Muigai said that there is need to ensure that persons who are charged in court get the best defense before they are convicted.
He said that it is unfair that some of the individuals who are on death row sentences have not been able to be adequately represented which is against their right.
He added: “the government recognizes that a fully functional legal aid service can only be government driven.”
Addressing a news conference yesterday, Muigai said that one the new parliament comes in to place he will mobile members of the parliament to amend the law to have a certain percentage allocated for legal representation from the National Government constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).
In addition, he also said that he will also mobilize county governments to also set aside a certain amount of money to go towards the scheme.
In the 2017/2018 budget parliament approved a budget of Sh 150mj to help the scheme start operating in the 47 counties before it is fully operational come mid next year.
Muigai also said that the money will go a long way in helping young lawyers and the young generation a chance to offer their services.
He regretted that while there are 15000 advocates in the country, the number is in sufficient to serve the 45m Kenyans countrywide and thus reveled that they are in consultation with universities and the Kenya School of Law to churn out more graduates.
And on her part, the board’s chairperson Nazima Malik said that with the board coming in to force, they expect more people will result to litigation to resolve their issues.
She assured the country that the board will assist, shape, facilitate the need for legal service for those who cannot be able to assess the service.