June 22, 2017

Judiciary unveils new plan to handle election disputes

The Judiciary has reiterated it is ready to handle all disputes and issues arising from the forthcoming General Election on August 8.

According to the Chief Justice David Maraga, over 400 judges and magistrates have been trained on management of election petitions.

“Over 400 judges and magistrates who are likely to handle election petitions have been trained and all the administrative and logistical arrangements have been put in place,” indicated Maraga on Tuesday (13/06/17).

“The Elections (Parliamentary and County Elections) Petition Rules have been revised and should be gazetted this week (ending June 17).

“The Supreme Court (Presidential Election Petition) Rules and the New Court of Appeal (Election Petitions) Rules are already drafted and will be gazetted shortly,” he added.

Mr Maraga noted that the Supreme Court was also ready to intervene if issues arise in the presidential election.

“My prayer is that none of you comes to the Supreme Court after the elections. The campaigns should be peaceful and the electoral process so credible that the presidential candidates and indeed all Kenyans, are fully satisfied with the results and see no reason to file a petition at the Supreme Court,” he said.

The CJ, however, regretted that the Judiciary had failed in its quest to win a parliamentary approval to extend the time limit for the hearing of presidential petitions saying such an extension would help the Supreme Court execute it’s mandate more effectively.

“We find that we are severely constrained by the 14-day limit set by the Constitution for hearing and disposing a Presidential Petition. In July 2016, I led the Judicial Committee on Elections in making a presentation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on IEBC Reforms recommending that this period be extended to 30 days. This proposal was, however, not accepted,” Maraga explained.

The CJ had in January asked Kenyans to respect and promote the independence of the Judiciary in dispute resolution adding that as the true custodian of the rule of law, the Judiciary was expected to guide the country towards a peaceful, orderly and credible elections.

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