Kenya Judiciary says it is ready to handle electoral disputes

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The Kenya Judiciary has said it is commitment to expeditiously handle electoral disputes that may arise after Tuesday’s poll.

Chief Justice David Maraga said Judiciary’s preparedness to handle election disputes has been ongoing and that all judicial officers have been trained to enhance the capacity of judicial officers in handling of electoral disputes.

“In the event of electoral disputes, the Constitution authorises the Judiciary to resolve them and sets out the timelines within which they should be determined as well as the rules and procedures to be followed in such exercises,” said the CJ on Thursday while launching “The Bench Book” that will guide judges and magistrates on how to resolve electoral disputes.

“I will if necessary allow our judicial officers and the judges to work outside of usual hours into the night and through the weekends to ensure that we keep the constitutional timelines without compromising the quality of our judgements and rulings,” he said.

Read: Kenya election campaigns to end on Saturday – IEBC

In 2013, the Judiciary in partnership with  the  Law Society of Kenya and GIZ and Judiciary published the Handbook on Election Disputes in Kenya Context, Legal Framework, Institutions and Jurisprudence.

The Handbook examines critical themes related to the framework established to resolve electoral disputes in Kenya: the broad context in which this framework operates, including the transformative promise of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and new electoral laws; constitutionalism, the rule of law and democracy in the electoral process; the legal framework on election disputes in Kenya; the role of constitutional and statutory institutions in the resolution of election disputes and; an audit of election decisions by Kenyan courts made between the years 1963 and early 2013.

Overall, in 2013, 188 petitions were filed challenging the results or the process of the election, with 24 challenging the election of County Governors; 13 against Senators, 70 against Members of the National Assembly; 9 against County Women Representatives; 67 against County Assembly Representatives and 5 against County Assembly Speakers.

All disputes were resolved within the statutorily mandated six-month period.

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David Indeje

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