Judiciary trains staff in preparation for poll petitions
The Judiciary has started a training programme for its staff in preparation to handle election-related cases.
The training, which began with the High Court, will cover all courts to ensure adequate preparations as the country gears towards the August General Election.
It targets 72 High Court judges, 120 researchers and law clerks in the first phase. The first training of judges was carried out last week.
“The Judiciary, through the Kenya Judiciary Academy (KJA), in conjunction with the Judiciary Committee on Elections, has commenced an extensive training programme aimed at preparing judges and magistrates for the hearing of election-related cases,” the Judiciary said in a statement yesterday.
Training for the rest of the superior court justices, 400 magistrates, deputy registrars and at least 400 judicial staff will follow.
“The Constitution mandates the Judiciary to hear and determine disputes related to election processes. Each election has witnessed an increasing number of election cases and petitions filed in courts,” the Judiciary said in the statement.
Chief Justice Martha Koome challenged all agencies charged with the mandate of electoral preparedness to carry out such trainings to enhance the capacity and preparedness for the elections.
“We assure Kenyans that the Judiciary is ready, willing, able and determined to execute its mandate under the Constitution fairly, expeditiously and with integrity for the good of our country,” she said.
In 2017, the courts handled 389 election petitions, including three presidential election petitions, compared to 188 petitions filed in the 2013 General Election.
The trend is an indication that the number of petitions may increase in the coming elections.
“The recent amendments to legislation on political parties and the current debate to change election laws will have a bearing on how courts handle petitions and make decisions on disputes brought to court,” it said in the statement.
The trainings are also expected to cover areas like use of technology in elections, election planning and preparation, hearing of election petitions, judicial ethics in adjudication of election disputes among other issues relevant to the Judiciary.