Judiciary Establishes Committee To Prepare Roadmap To Handle Electoral Disputes

Written by on 15 February 2022

The Judiciary has assured Kenyans as well as the political class that petitions that will be filed before the courts because of election malpractices will be dealt with expeditiously to reduce anxiety and ensure that justice is served.

Over 120 judicial officers are to be trained on election laws before the election, this is according to Chief Justice Martha Koome.

CJ Koome spoke on Tuesday at a forum that brought together the Judiciary and the media ahead of the forthcoming elections.

During the meeting between the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) leadership and the Judiciary’s top leadership, CJ Koome disclosed that the Judiciary has established a committee tasked with coming up with a work-plan geared towards ensuring efficient handling of pre and post-election disputes during the 2022 election.

“In the Kenyan context, the conduct of elections and settlement of election disputes has a bearing on the stability of the State and the peaceful coexistence as a nation,” said the CJ.

The work-plan is inclusive of a comprehensive training schedule for all judges, judicial officers, and judicial staff on matters of electoral law, especially emerging issues, areas of law reform and full activation of e-justice.

The committee, in collaboration with the Kenya Judiciary Academy, will train 120 judges, 480 magistrates and 400 Judicial staff.

“We’re prepared to deal with all the disputes that will come absolutely impartially, dispassionately…whatever problems they will bring to our courts, we will reduce them into constitutional and legal issues,” stated CJ Koome.

Media, according to the Judiciary, has made significant strides towards gaining independence while reporting on election matters but a lot is still pending, especially on happenings in court.

“I’m seeing more and more mistakes being made by untrained journalists in the area of defamation. Mr. President (Churchill Otieno) why don’t you begin a conversation where judges and magistrates can have a conversation with you on the rules of defamation,” said Supreme Court Judge Isaac Lenaola.

In the past, the Judiciary has been heavily criticized for taking too long in dealing with election petitions while at the same time appearing to be compromised when cases of election malpractices come before the courts.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild wants the Judiciary to be decisive before and after the August 9 election.

KEG President Churchill Otieno said: “As journalists, we’re keen to hear from the Judiciary on how it intends to exercise its mandate in a way that benefits the Kenyan voter, taking into account any lessons from previous elections.”

“The next constant that must be admitted about elections in Kenya; trouble starts and ends with the tallying and transmission of election results. This is the central dilemma of the Kenyan elections, and the assured standing invitation for the intervention of the Judiciary,” Royal Media Services Director of Strategy and Innovation, Linus Kaikai.

At another meeting led by officials from KEG, IEBC disclosed the reason why Kenya has witnessed a low turn out of youth who registered as voters.

Joyce Ekuam, an educator at IEBC, said: “We need to educate and sensitize especially the youth of this country the connection between the value of their vote and the quality of life.”

A representative from the Kenya Police said the force will curb election violence and malpractices this electoral cycle.

Media owners and journalists have also been urged to shun election malpractices through unprofessional reporting and to declining favours from political aspirants.

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