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October 22, 2017

Judiciary readies for poll petitions

Justice Raphael Mbogholi Msagha at the Supreme Court on August 30, 2016 /Jack Owuor
Justice Raphael Mbogholi Msagha at the Supreme Court on August 30, 2016 /Jack Owuor

The judiciary is all set for disputes that will arise out of the General Election.

All judges and magistrates have been told to be on standby to handle any urgent matter.

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Election Justice Msagha Mbogholi said election disputes, which they expect to be filed after declaration of results will be handled by judges and magistrates to be gazetted by Chief Justice David Maraga.

He, however, could not immediately say the number of judges and magistrates who will be handling the disputes.

This is because this can only be determined once the petitions are filed.

“The number of judges and magistrates allocated to hear election petitions will only be known once all election petitions are filed within the requisite 28 days after the declaration of results. Once again, arrangements for this exercise are already in place,” a statement by the committee reads.

Recently, the CJ directed that during the six-month period that election petitions will be heard, no judge or magistrate should take leave.

He had also said if need be, he will authorise judges to sit through the weekend and at nights to ensure they handle election petitions.

In preparation of the election, the judiciary has trained judges and magistrates in matters of and concerning election, launched a bench book on election dispute resolution and gazetted election petition rules among other things.

The committee further said all Judges and magistrates hearing election petitions will be expected to do their normal work, taking into account that under the Constitution, election petitions must be heard and determined within six months of filing.

Judges and magistrates have been implementing case management strategies to ensure all other cases proceed for hearing and determination with minimal disruption.

According to the committee, the judiciary has been executing an aggressive backlog clearance strategy as part of overall plan to reduce delays in hearing cases.

Under the law, the High Court will hear election petitions for governor, senator and MP.

The magistrates courts will handle cases by MCA.

The appeals from the High Court will be taken to the appellate court.

The dispute regarding presidential election petition will be handled exclusively by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has a set time line of 14 days, within which it must determine the presidential election petition.


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