Various forms of ADR have maintained an important role in African societies, including Kenya, from time immemorial. For many years, well-respected village elders or chiefs have presided over community conflicts, facilitating conciliation processes between two parties or warring factions to prevent ongoing disputes. These meetings were held in open “baraza(s)” at the chief’s office and often took the form of a “town hall meeting” where open, safe, and compassionate dialogue was encouraged. If the dialogue did not yield peace, then the elder/chief would arbitrate and render a binding decision.
The use of ADR in Kenya was formally acknowledged in 2010 when it was included in Kenya’s new Constitution and was further developed by the Mediation Bill of 2020 which gives effect to Article 159 of the Constitution and section 59B of the Civil Procedure Act.
SENIOR FELLOW – KENYA