Judiciary decentralises political parties tribunal

chief justice

Chief Justice Martha Koome. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Cases arising from political primaries will no longer be heard in Nairobi alone after Chief Justice Martha Koome launched seven regional courts to deal with the electoral disputes.

Justice Koome announced the decentralisation of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) to other regions outside Nairobi, to ensure expeditious disposal of cases and cutting costs for parties who had to travel to the city to file and hear their cases.

Disputes arising from party primaries during the 2013 and 2017 general elections were filed in Nairobi, causing challenges in terms of accessibility of justice given the distance some litigants had to travel to Nairobi to access the Tribunal.

“Kenyans can now access justice with respect to political disputes without having to travel long distances to access justice. This ensures that access to justice with respect to this category of disputes will be cost-effective, expeditious and convenient,” Justice Koome said.

The new tribunals will be based at Meru law courts, Mombasa law courts, Kisumu law courts, Kakamega law courts, Nyeri law courts and Eldoret law courts.

Justice Koome also activated an e-filling system for the PPDT, to allow those filling cases before the tribunal to do it electronically.

“I assure Kenyans that the PPDT and the Courts are ready and well-prepared to handle any disputes arising from the political parties’ primaries and other electoral disputes including working beyond normal working hours and on weekends to meet the ends of justice,” she said.

She said the Judiciary is making every effort to ensure that the PPDT and the courts hear and determine the disputes fairly, expeditiously and in a cost-effective manner.

There were 115 disputes filed arising from party primaries in the Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, in last week’s nominations.

The party's Electoral and Nomination Dispute Resolution Committee said out of the 115 disputes, 94 were for members of County Assemblies and 34 of the cases were dismissed, results from 24 wards nullified and there was a recount in four wards. 

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, whose win was nullified has already challenged the party’s decision and obtained an order from PPDT barring UDA from submitting Bernard Kitur’s name to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as its nominee for the August polls.

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