Chief Justice Martha Koome has ordered that all pending election-related cases be heard and determined within the next 90 days.
She was speaking during a multi-agency meeting of senior officials from the Judiciary, Ministry of Interior, the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.
CJ Koome noted during the event at the Kenya School of Government that the pending election cases impacted the process of free and fair elections and should therefore be completed to pave the way for the next polls in 2022.
“All these cases will be collated, given to us as the Judiciary and we will ask that our judges and magistrates under whose dockets those cases fall (determine them) as soon as possible and in any event, within 90 days,” she said.
The fast-tracking of the cases, CJ Koome explained, was in line with the Judiciary’s vision that all election-related cases be decided within the framework given by the law.
“I assure Kenyans that we are carrying our mandate to ensure there is protection under the rule of law and that you have somewhere to go if you have any problem,” the Judiciary boss said.
She also revealed that the courts had noted the vice of hate speech with rising concern and that plans are underway to set up a specialised court to deal with hate-speech cases.
The first five courts dealing with hate speech will be set up in areas that have been noted as hotspots of the crime, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Eldoret.
The CJ also expressed her concerns about the increase in gender-based violence cases, noting that election cycles that often come with tension and violence only make the incidents rise even more.
She called on Kenyans to check their behaviour and take responsibility for their actions.
“We should now be focused on how we reduce conflict and coexist, because elections … come and go and leave us as Kenyans. Let us treat elections like religion - you practise yours and I practice mine. We should coexist peacefully,” she said before urging the NCIC to roll out thorough civic education across the country.
Political parties were also asked to comply with the law during campaigns and meetings and take responsibility for any occurrence that might arise.
“Have a code of conduct, some ground rules. When you have a meeting and there is violence, people fight, some people even die and some are hurt, property is destroyed. They (political parties) must take responsibility for that,” she said.