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The Puzzle

Interpretation of TOR

The Puzzle

In interpreting the Terms of reference, the Taskforce took cognisance of several factors including the socio-political context in which the Taskforce was constituted and mandated and thus the need to nuance their processes to ensure that the outcomes are responsive to the context as identified.

The first interpretational task of the taskforce was to unpack the meaning of the name of the taskforce and the mandate that follows in line with such naming. It was accepted that the use of AJS, was intentional and designed to contradistinguish the work of this taskforce from discussions around ADR. The generally accepted definition of ADR included specific mechanisms such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation which seem to be in the purview of lawyers and other such formal systems. However, AJS connotes something broader than alternative ways of resolving disputes even though some of these mechanisms used in AJS are close or closely similar to those of ADR. In fact, people use AJS to interpret every day ideas, issues and practices and the purpose of such a system is to ensure the harmonious co-existence of people from different backgrounds in line with our national values. For this reason, the approach of the Taskforce is to produce a policy document that not only seeks to resolve disputes but entrenches a broader notion of justice that relates to the negotiation of contentious co-existence between the various diverse groupings in Kenya.

The Methodology

In order to fulfil its mandate, the taskforce adopted an unconventional framework relying on several methods captured below:

a) Identification and mapping of AJS actors: The Task force aimed to document as much as information as possible on the prevalence and workings of AJS in Kenya. This also included a comparative study of AJS systems in other jurisdictions to draw best practices from the challenges and successes noted in those contexts. Ultimately this information shall be contained in a repository that shall be publicly accessible and disseminated as widely as possible. In this respect the workings of the Taskforce were supported by the JTI which has offered financial and other resources to the Taskforce. The Strathmore University also offered additional support through the provision of a rapporteur who has documented and prepared reports for all convenings.

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