POLL FINALISATION

CJ hopeful Mbote wants election petitions to end at Court of Appeal

"We should aspire to end issues there unless it’s a matter of public importance."

In Summary

• Mbote says in elections, it is important to have the parties finalise the matter without going to the Supreme Court.

• Mbote said the country got into affirmative action 'shabbily' and missed the opportunity of defining how we deal with equality.

Professor Patricia Mbote during her Chief Justice interview at the Supreme Court on April 13, 2021.
Professor Patricia Mbote during her Chief Justice interview at the Supreme Court on April 13, 2021.
Image: CHARLENE MALWA

Prof Patricia Mbote says all elections petitions should end at the Court of Appeal and not taken to the Supreme Court.

“We should aspire to end issues there unless it’s a matter of public importance which would justify bringing them to the Supreme Court,” she said.

Mbote says in elections, it is important to have the parties finalise the matter without going to the Supreme Court.

“Cases should come to an end especially if we say they are time-bound. Ending the matters at the Court of Appeal would sort the matters,” she said.

Prof Mbote spoke on Tuesday as she faced the Judicial Service Commission panel on its second day of interviews.

Prof Mbote is among 10 candidates shortlisted for the position of Chief Justice.

On the two-thirds gender rule, Mbote said it is an important issue and Kenyans need to deal with the processes that bring out leaders to meet the gender rule.

Mbote said the country got into affirmative action 'shabbily' and missed the opportunity of defining how we deal with equality.

“We don’t have an equality law to deal with the issues and there should be benchmarks for that,” she said.

When asked by JSC Commionerer David Majanja if she has ever engaged in the BBI process Mbote said she has.

“How I came about to be part of BBI was interesting. At one point when I was out in the village, someone called me saying they wanted a scholar to read the BBI document and present it to Kenyans,” she said.

Mbote says she wondered why she was the one being looked for and not another scholar.

“I read the documents so I have looked at it as a scholar and I am currently advising Parliament on certain clauses the matter in court so I won’t speak on it,” she said.

On the use of technology during the Covid-19 seasons, Mbote said justice should not be made inaccessible through technology and it is important to use ICT to bring it closer to the people.

She said that as the CJ, she will partner with the Communications Authority and the Ministry of ICT to ensure that she takes justice to Kenyans.

On the issues of judicial activism, Mbote said it should be within the confines of the law.

“It is not unimaginable that someone is going to bring an issue that will need us to work with my colleagues and agree on the rulings,” she said.

Mbote said the line is very thin and you can become restrained to a point you are hands are tied.

“We should encourage a situation where people see the importance of working together,” she said.

On the issue of coming from the academia field to the Judiciary, she said she is ready to learn.

“The hope is to convince you that I can learn to be an effective Chief Justice,” she said.

On foreign trips by the Chief Justice, Mbote said she has done a lot travelling in her lifetime and what has made her realize that she can do without it was Covid-19.

The CJ hopeful said she realized that she can accomplish a lot without travel for example she can teach in Stamford and India on the same day.

"You can achieve a lot without travelling out of the country," she said.