Interim Report Of The Judiciary Working Committee On Election Preparations
September 24, 2012
Since its inception, the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations has been hard at work readying the Judiciary to handle the multiplicity of petitions expected from the forthcoming General Election.
The committee has held and attended several stakeholder forums on the electoral process. The committee recognizes that even though the role of the Judiciary appears to be at the tail end of the electoral process, it cannot be played effectively if activities within the entire process are not properly facilitated. The committee works with stakeholders to ensure that inconsistencies or deficiencies in electoral law are dealt with early and that all actors know precisely what laws will govern the electoral process.
The committee has joined hands with the Judiciary Training Institute as required in its terms of reference as well as other stakeholders to develop and carry out a training programme for judges, magistrates and other judicial staff across the country between September and December 2012.
After taking stock of how election-related disputes have been handled in the past and particularly of the success of the High Court in dealing with the delimitation case earlier this year, the committee is recommending to the Chief Justice administrative arrangements that can be made to efficiently handle electoral disputes. The committee has recommended pre-trial conferencing once pleadings have closed to give the judicial officers and litigants or their advocates an opportunity to set the rules of engagement in order to avoid delays experienced in the past.
The committee continues to work on ways to engage the public in order to raise awareness on the forums for dispute resolution that now exist in the electoral regime in and outside the courts. This will ease the great burden placed on the Judiciary by cases improperly filed in the courts instead of in the properly mandated dispute resolution bodies.
The committee is sparing no effort in ensuring that the Judiciary is ready for any eventuality after the elections. We remain confident that the Judiciary’s role in these elections will be precedent-setting not just in Kenya but around the world.