Kenya's judiciary vows to speed up resolution electoral disputes

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-03 22:16:38|Editor: Song Lifang
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NAIROBI, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Judiciary on Thursday vowed to speed up the process of resolving electoral disputes that may arise from Aug. 8 polls.

Chief Justice David Maraga told journalists in Nairobi that the constitution authorizes the Judiciary to resolve electoral disputes and sets out the timelines within which they should be determined.

"I will, if necessary, allow our judicial officers to work outside the official hours -- into the night and through weekends -- to ensure that we keep to the constitutional timelines without compromising on the quality of rulings," Maraga said during the launch of the Bench Book on Electoral Disputes Resolution.

The Bench Book will provide a quick reference or "one-stop" guide for judges, judges officers and judicial staff on legal, procedural and administrative issues that frequently arise during electoral disputes resolution.

Maraga noted that the Judiciary Committee on Elections which spearheads administrative arrangements and capacity building measures for Judges and Judicial Officers has also put in place measures to efficiently and expeditiously determine electoral disputes that arise from general elections.

During the last general elections in 2013, the judiciary handled 188 election petitions.

Maraga said that more election petitions are expected to be filed in court after the 2017 elections given that 14,523 candidates have been cleared to vie.

The CJ said that the judiciary has put in place preparatory arrangements for the resolution of the electoral disputes bound to arise from these elections.

"All the judges and magistrates who will handle electoral disputes have undergone intensive refresher training," he added.

"This was necessitated by the changes made in election laws since 2013, and the gaps that were noted during the 2013 petitions and as well as a review of the electoral dispute resolution jurisprudence arising from the 2013 petitions," he noted.

Maraga, who is also the President of the Supreme Court said that public confidence in the judiciary as a neutral and credible arbiter of electoral disputes rests on how fairly and efficiently the institution resolves these disputes.

He urged the country never to forget the crisis that gripped Kenya in the aftermath of the 2007 polls.

"Those horrid events will always be a reminder that when electoral disputes are left in the hands of non-judicial processes, Kenyans pay an enormous price," he noted.