MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb 10 – Chief Justice David Maraga wants the poll laws amended to provide for all election petitions to be heard and determined within one year.
Maraga told participants at the National Assembly leadership retreat in Mombasa that if MPs approve the amendments currently before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, it will enable judges to conclude petitions on time and avoid delays that drag on for years in the courts.
In his recommendation, the CJ explained that all the cases challenging an election outcome will be heard at the High Court and Court of Appeal while the Supreme Court will only handle a presidential petition.
“This is the only way we can control that, if we don’t do that, we will have petitions and appeals filed by MCAs going all the way to the Supreme Court and if we allow that kind of situation, Mr Speaker, we will not even finish those petitions until 2022,” he cautioned.
Speaking at the two-day retreat, Maraga further called for changes to the Political Party Dispute Tribunal Act to enable him appoint temporary members to the Tribunal to determine party disputes filed nationwide.
“At the moment we have only five members, but I am in the process of appointing another two, to make seven. And in our estimation this, two will not be able to effectively deal with those disputes.”
“The solution we have proposed, Mr Speaker, is that you allow an amendment to the Political Party Dispute Tribunal Act to authorise the Judicial Service Commission to appoint temporary members of that Tribunal, so that they can sit in various parts of the country and resolve those disputes,” Maraga stated.
The CJ expressed concern that the Tribunal could be overwhelmed by the volume of disagreements filed and will not conclude the disputes within the stipulated 18 days.