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Can a court compel you to pay back fare after bailing out on a date? Magistrate rules

The Senior Resident Magistrate issued the ruling after receiving several complaints from men who had given money to women for fare and had been let down.

A photo of a judge striking gavel in a courtroom

A small claims court recently ruled that it has no legal authority to deal with cases involving women who received money for transportation and then fail to show up for a date, what is commonly referred to in Swahili as kula fare.

The court's Senior Resident Magistrate, Tabitha Wanjiku Mbugua, issued the ruling after receiving several complaints from men who had given money to women for fare and had then been let down.

Ms Mbugua explained that the law on the jurisdiction of small claims courts does not allow her to compel women who have taken money for transportation and then failed to show up for a date to pay back the fare.

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She sympathized with the men who had lost money in this way but said that there was nothing she could do to help them.

The Senior Resident Magistrate also clarified that the Small Claims Court has no power to assist people who have paid fees to witch doctors but have not seen any results.

She reminded Kenyans seeking the services of witch doctors that they cannot claim back fees paid to them in a court of law because the law does not recognize witchcraft.

These cases of claiming that you paid a witch doctor and the charms did not work cannot be claimed in our court. When charms fail to work after paying for services, if you want your money back just settle it with your witchdoctor,” she said.

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Ms Mbugua emphasized that the Judiciary and its stakeholders would soon launch a campaign in the North Rift region to create awareness among residents about the operations and jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court.

She urged Kenyans to seek reliable information about the court system from court users committees and the Judiciary information desk in all courts across the country, instead of relying on social media misinformation.

It is worth noting that in July 2022, there was widespread misinformation on social media about a woman who had been fined Sh23,000 for "eating fare."

However, the Judiciary clarified that the report was false and advised Kenyans to disregard it.

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