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Kituo Cha Sheria – “KITUO” is the oldest, most experienced legal aid providing and human rights non-governmental organization in Kenya, and perhaps, across the East and Horn of Africa region. It exists to empower the poor and marginalized and to enhance equity and access to justice for all. KITUO was established on 9th July 1973, back then Kenya had adopted a fairly liberal democratic Constitution at independence. The colonial laws were not repealed or amended to suit the independence Constitution. In fact, the government progressively amended the 1969 Constitution to suit the colonial laws. The ‘ordinances’ were simply renamed Acts of Parliament thus, an anomaly emerged because the independence Parliament had not deliberated on the laws through the normal legislative process. Most of these laws were inherently unjust because they discriminated on the basis of race, class, and gender. In addition, illiteracy and lack of knowledge of the strange laws put many indigenous Kenyans at a great disadvantage. The lawyers available were too few, very expensive and far beyond the reach of poor Kenyans. When faced with legal and human rights issues such as rent disputes, the poor residents always found themselves at a disadvantage as they did not know how to safeguard their rights or effectively access justice through the various judicial institutions. For a considerable time, it was only KITUO that provided pro bono legal services as there were no other organizations. Even though the government offered legal aid, the demand for KITUO’s services increased, resulting in the gradual institutional growth.
Currently, the number of lawyers and other full time staff is over sixty (60). With strengthened institutional framework, KITUO has rapidly expanded its programmes and more of its clientele can access justice.
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