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November 20, 2018

Reduce appeals in poll cases to tame mischief

Bura MP Ali Wario (right) celebrate with his Garsen Counterpart  Ibrahim Sane at Mombasa Law courts after Mombasa Judge George Odunga upheld the win of Ali Wario duly elected as member of parliament of Bura constituency. Photo Norbert Allan
Bura MP Ali Wario (right) celebrate with his Garsen Counterpart Ibrahim Sane at Mombasa Law courts after Mombasa Judge George Odunga upheld the win of Ali Wario duly elected as member of parliament of Bura constituency. Photo Norbert Allan

The courts have performed admirably in disposing of the avalanche of petitions filed from the August 8 General Election. Unlike in the past when such cases dragged on for the entire term of the disputed winner, the Constitution now demands that electoral challenges be determined within six months after the election.

Thus, nearly 230 cases challenging the victories of members of the Senate, National and County assemblies have been heard and determined by magistrate and superior courts of the first instance.

Dissatisfied clients have filed appeals in the High Court or Court of Appeal and further proceeded to the Supreme Court. We leave it to researchers and legal scholars to analyse the merits of each of these appeals and their contribution to our growing jurisprudence.

We are here concerned with the impact of this litigation streak on the objectives of the framers of the Constitution in capping the period for adjudicating electoral disputes — ie to reduce the trauma associated with unresolved elections.

Granted, every litigant who feels aggrieved has every right to pursue justice to its fair end. However, it is now a moot question whether wily litigants are not exploiting the appeals process to delay their fate and frustrate the will of the people.

It may be in the interest of justice, the public and the court’s time to make the Court of Appeal the court of last resort in non-presidential elections to tame mischief.

Quote of the Day: “He who stops being better stops being good.”

Oliver Cromwell

The English military and political leader defeated Royalists at Battle of Gainsborough on July 27, 1643.

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