The Judiciary is ready for election petitions

Supreme Court of Kenya

The Supreme Court of Kenya in Nairobi on this photo taken on August 15, 2021.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Elections are a process and the ball is now in the Judiciary’s court.

Voters have done their part, IEBC has announced the results.

We now begin the electoral dispute resolution phase. The law requires that electoral disputes are resolved within six months.

The Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) spearheads the institution’s preparation for this phase.

It is headed by Supreme Court Judge Mohammed Ibrahim and consists of six judges and a host of magistrates and staff.

The committee looks at all matters that help improve efficiency in the handling of electoral disputes - be they training, finances, infrastructure, human resource and ICT.

Over the past seven months, and in collaboration with the Kenya Judiciary Academy, the Judiciary Committee on Elections conducted Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) trainings of judges of all levels of court, magistrates and judicial staff. The trainings, undertaken between February and August, apprised them of changes to various electoral laws, among other relevant topics.

Supreme Court

The seven judges of the Supreme Court were trained as well as 18 judges of the Court of Appeal and 68 judges of the High Court.

A total of 342 magistrates were also trained. The number of judicial staff trained including law clerks, legal researchers, High Court deputy registrars and administrative staff was 183.

Further, to enhance the efficiency of the EDR process, JCE has developed a module for filing of election matters in the Judiciary’s Case Tracking System (CTS) and E-Filing system. The system will ensure that litigants are able to file their cases remotely in view of the strict EDR timeliness.

The CST will also enable JCE and the Judiciary leadership track the petitions to ensure that they are determined in adherence to the strict constitutional timeliness.

The committee has also reviewed and updated the EDR Bench Book, which is a compilation of notable judicial pronouncements and the law on various legal issues that may come to the fore. It takes into account the current electoral laws and EDR Cases arising from the 2013 and 2017 electoral cycles. It also highlights the main provisions of the Constitution, electoral statutes, regulations, and election petition rules.

The Bench Book

The Bench Book will provide a comprehensive reference point. It is an integral resource material for judges and magistrates and staff on legal, procedural, and administrative issues that frequently arise in election petitions.

The Judiciary is also ready for the swearing in ceremonies that follow elections. A committee is in place organising for the swearing in of the President-elect and Deputy President-elect which — barring any presidential election petition — will take place on August 30.

The Chief Justice has also appointed 47 judges and 47 magistrates to conduct the swearing-in ceremonies of governors and deputy governors- elect in all counties.

Should there be a presidential petition, there is a change in venue and the Supreme Court judges will hear the same from the current Milimani Law Courts.

Meanwhile, the recently gazetted Supreme Court Sub-Registry in the neighbouring Forodha House is where filing should take place.

The Judiciary urges all Kenyans who feel aggrieved by the electoral process to approach the nearest court with confidence. We are ready.

The writer heads Communication and Public Affairs in the Judiciary Email: [email protected]