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Judges ready to tackle spike in election disputes, DCJ says

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu at the annual judges' conference in Mombasa on July 3, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu at the annual judges' conference in Mombasa on July 3, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG 

The judiciary is bracing itself for a slew of election petitions in the immediate aftermath of the August 7 polls.

Speaking in Mombasa at an annual colloquium of judges from across the country on Monday, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said there was a likelihood of having more than 300 petitions filed this year due to the nature of the current political situation.

She however assured that the courts were prepared to handle election-related disputes following trainings undergone by most judges and magistrates since 2013.

“The judiciary has sufficient numbers of judges and magistrates (to handle election petitions),” said Ms Mwilu adding that they had a shortage of judicial officers to hear election petitions but that the situation has been rectified with additional judges.

The deputy CJ said that although they expect more election petitions compared to 2013, the number of cases filed will determine the number of judges to be allocated.

Build on failures

The judiciary is hoping to build on its past failures in handling election disputes in order to inspire Kenyans' confidence in the institution.

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

Organised by the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI), the forum is usually held in August but was pushed to this week due to the oncoming General Election.

JTI director, Justice Otieno Odek, said the judges will discuss issues relating 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.

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