Judiciary anticipates more petitions in August polls than in 2013

The Judiciary anticipates that there will be more elections petitions filed after the August 8 polls as compared to those filed in 2013.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has said due to the current political situation, there is a likelihood of having more than 300 petitions filed.

However, Ms Mwilu said the Judiciary is ready to handle election-related disputes since most of the judges and magistrates have undergone training since 2013.

Speaking Monday during the annual judges’ colloquium at Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa, Ms Mwilu said judges have sharpened their skills through various trainings on election dispute resolution.

She said they have had a problem with the limited number of judicial officers to hear election petitions but the situation has been rectified with additional judges having been brought on board.

JUDGES READY

“The judiciary has sufficient numbers of judges and magistrates’ (to handle election petitions),”said Ms Mwilu, adding that the judges have been adequately trained.

Ms Mwilu said the number of cases to be filed as a result of the general election will determine the number of judges to be allocated to hear them.

She further said that the confidence of the public towards the Judiciary will also depend on how they handle election disputes and other cases.

The deputy CJ said as an institution, they are building on their failures of the past (if any) in order to handle election disputes better.

ANNUAL COLLOQUIUM

The annual colloquium draws judges from the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Employment and Labour Relations Court and the Environment and Land Court.

It is organised by the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI) and is usually held in August but this year it had to be held earlier due to the coming elections.

JTI’s Director Otieno Odek said during the colloquium, judges will discuss issues related to elections and digitisation of the Judiciary.

“As part of the election preparedness, after the colloquium, judges will go back while they are ready (to handle any disputes),”said Justice Odek.

Justice Odek said the colloquium is also an opportunity for judges to reflect on their work and look for ways of improving service delivery to the people.

He further said the Judiciary has embarked on a pilot project of digitising court records through e-filing and electronic case management.

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