Judiciary asks for Sh960m to handle poll petitions

Judiciary asks for Sh960m to handle poll petitions. (Photo: Courtesy)

The Judiciary requires more than Sh966 million to handle election petitions likely to arise from the August polls.

The funds are expected to cater for transfer of judges to stations with a high number of petitions, training of staff and other logistics.

But the Judiciary hopes that the Government will release the funds meant for the Election Dispute Resolution (EDR), given that it did not give a single cent for the 2013 elections.

Justice Msagha Mbogholi, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Elections, says it is development partners who met the 2012-2013 budget gaps through seconding of staff to the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (JWCEP) secretariat, engagement of thematic consultants and facilitating EDR trainings.

Justice Mbogholi took over the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee on Elections from Chief Justice David Maraga.

“It is the hope of the Judiciary that GOK will grant funding to EDR for the 2017/18 budget, which is an essential part of the electoral cycle. The Judiciary has already presented its budget proposals in this regard,” says Justice Mbogholi.

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Administrative guidelines

A large portion of the 2012-13 election budget was on transfer of the gazetted election courts, but this only took place in stations that had many petitions but few judges to handle the applications.

The stations were Mombasa, Malindi, Kisii, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kitale and Machakos. A number of petitions filed in Garissa were transferred to Nairobi.

Mbogholi said the decision on whether or not to transfer judges and magistrates to handle election petitions after the August 8 General Election will be made soon.

He said Chief Justice Maraga has already issued administrative guidelines to avoid a situation that led to backlog of cases in various courts in 2013.

Judges and magistrates are currently utilising their leave days between January and July to write rulings and judgments on the cases they are handling to set them free for the election petitions.

“It is expected that no staff will, save for exceptional cases, go on leave during the period of handling of election petitions.

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“While in 2013 there were 188 petitions, these are expected to double or even triple in 2017,” Justice Mbogholi said.

Most of the cases that suffered during the hearing of the election petitions were criminal appeals and this made appellate judges to move from one station to another from October 2013 in order to finalise the applications.

The Kriegler Commission recommended that election petitions be determined within six months of their filing.

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